I am not sure of the time frame, but sometime in the last year or so someone finally saw fit to give servers a raise. If you didn’t know, the people who handle your food made $2.13 an hour up until then. Yes, we are tipped, but let me be the first to say not everyone knows how to tip! So our income is based on the kindness of strangers.
After the raise, we made $3.13 an hour! After 10 years of working in the service industry, I had gotten a raise, and it totaled about $2,000 bucks a year. Now those 10 percent tips didn’t hurt as bad (but almost). After much thought(?), our wage was lowered to $2.83 and then recently $2.43 an hour. Tonight I was looking at the N.C. Department of Labor Web site and realized that our wage was going to be lowered yet again, and worse—back to $2.13 as of Aug. 24.
So to the N.C. lawmakers, thanks for the year of the raise, and just one question: How did my wage get lowered three times in less than a year?
— Holly Harwood
Editor’s note: According to N.C. Department of Labor information, employers may pay as little as the amounts listed by the letter writer, provided an employee receives enough in tips to reach the current $5.85 federal minimum wage—which changes to $6.55 effective July 2008. (See “Wage and Hour Act” text at www.nclabor.com/posters/Labor_Law_Poster_Patch_11x17.pdf.)