U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa wants to increase the minimum wage, and that would include the first increase for tipped workers in more than 20-years.
As a waitress, Betty Waters of Des Moines is trying to raise her four sons on just $4.35 an hour plus tips. “Trying to buy food is hard.” says Waters, “I mean, hamburger, macaroni and cheese, hamburger and hotdogs just to make sure that your kids have any kind of food in their stomachs is the best that we can do.”
Harkin is proposing legislation that would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers like Waters from $2.13 per hour to $6.85 per hour. Waters says that would be a big help, but small business owners say it could be devastating.
“It’s going to really impact my ability to hire additional people when I start to get busier. So I am going to have fewer people that will earn a part-time income to help supplement their current full time income or even stay at home moms that want to add a little bit of extra money to the grocery bill or whatever.” says Green Grounds Cafe owner Isa O’Hara, “What they’re doing is going to cripple the economy. It’s not going to help anything. It’s only going to destroy.”
According to the economic policy institute, more than 30-million workers would get a raise if the fair minimum wage act of 2013 passes.