More money could be coming for tipped workers

By Kelly McCarthy

July 30, 2014 Updated Jul 30, 2014 at 6:52 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Minimum wage in New York State will increase to $9 an hour by 2015. Governor Andrew Cuomo has now appointed a wage board to look at doing the same for tipped workers.

"I think that it would definitely help," said Rachael, a server at the Broadway Diner. "More money's always better."

Servers at the Broadway Diner make $5 an hour instead of the state minimum of $8 because at the end of every meal, they have tips to look forward to.

"I make good money because I'm good at what I do," said Rachael.

The state is now taking a look at all tipped workers, to determine if their wages should be raised with the rest of the state's.

"Because they do make tips," said Tim Grippen, a NYS wage board member. "They can make a lot more than minimum wage, and many do."

Ask any server and they'll say service workers follow a different set of rules than the typical 9 to 5 worker. The time of day, and even the time of year, has a big impact on their bank accounts.

"Shifts definitely make a big deal," said Rachelle, a server at Broadway Diner. "We're in a diner so Sunday mornings and Saturday mornings, those are definitely big money making times."

While raising tipped wages sounds great for the employees, Grippen said they have to make sure it doesn't hurt the smaller businesses in New York.

"We don't want to harm these industries that are employing these many hundreds of thousands of employees," Grippen said. "We have to try and balance it off."

If the wage board does not recommend a raise, the servers at Broadway Diner said they'll still be able to make ends meet.

"Good service repays with good tips," Rachelle said. "So even if it's slow, if you still take good care of your tables, you still make good money."

Members of the wage board will hold meetings across the state to hear from the public. Then, they'll give their recommendation to the State Department of Labor to take the next step.

Grippen hopes to organize one of the public meetings in the Southern Tier region. They will start around September and the wage board will hand in their recommendations before the end of the year.