Sunday, February 12, 2012

Class Warfare for Dummies: Florida Bill Would Reduce Tipped Workers' Minimum Salary to $2.13 an Hour

Here's a proposed law that Willard Romney would absolutely love...until some aggrieved waitress spit on his filet mignon before serving it to him. The Orlando Sentinel has the gruesome details:
A bill that would cut the hourly wages of many waiters and waitresses was unveiled Tuesday by a Florida Senate committee in Tallahassee.

The bill would slash Florida's minimum wage for tipped workers — now $4.65 an hour — to the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 for companies that agree to guarantee that with wages and tips their employees will make at least $9.98 an hour.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is urging legislators to pass the bill. The trade group says Florida's tipped minimum is crippling eateries financially, causing companies to cut back workforces and open fewer restaurants in Florida.

Combined with rising costs of food, insurance and implementing the new federal health-care law, "it's going to be a matter of time before the back of this industry breaks," said Carol Dover, chief executive officer of the trade group. "Minimum wage is killing them."
First of all, if these companies really do have to "guarantee" their employees will make $9.98 an hour with tips, then what is the point of reducing the base salary in the first place? You don't suppose there would be massive fudging on that amount do you? No...perish the thought. Secondly, if these restaurants can't afford to pay their wait staff a measly base salary of $4.65 an hour, then they a likely not going to last a whole lot longer anyway.

Call this what it is: yet another attack on low wage service workers by scumbag corporations at a time when these kinds of menial jobs represent a large portion of what is still available out there for workers. It's appalling that these companies want to be able to pay an employee less per hour than the cost of a gallon of gasoline. This is class warfare at its finest, a perfect metaphor at a time in which the front runner for the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties is a multimillionaire vulture capitalist who has openly professed that he doesn't care about poor people.

In case you want to know the identity of one of the major companies supporting this hideous know, so maybe you can extend a big ol' middle digit in their direction the next time you drive past one of their locations, I'm here to serve, so to speak:
Tampa-based OSI Restaurant Partners, supports the bill, Dover said. The company, which owns Outback Steakhouse, did not respond to a request for comment.
In that case I have a comment for Outback Steakhouse: shove your horrible bloomin' onions where the sun don't shine.

Bonus: Here's a little number that is GENUINELY Australian, unlike the Outback Steakhouse


  1. Sorry but it's not just "scumbag corporations". My life experience has found it is just as much your local small town business man or woman. Americans just don't get it.

    I grew up in a rural area near a small town (100 people) where my parents worked. My father hurt his back, in a manner that disabled him for several yrs, at a local lumberyard. When my father applied for health benefits, workman's comp, etc, the owner threw the papers away rather than fill them out. Naturally, this hindered and/or prevented any assistance at all. After several yrs of fighting the system, an operation at Mayo Clinic partially restored his ability to work.

    This town, still dominated by the same family, continues in this vein to this day. Wages are minimum or below, no health care, etc, etc. The dominating family live in large homes, drive expensive cars, etc.

    American business has been this way from the get go. This country was built on greed, exploitation and slave or semi-slave labor. Read the history.

    1. "American business has been this way from the get go. This country was built on greed, exploitation and slave or semi-slave labor. Read the history."

      That's correct for the most part. We had a short historical aberration from about 1933-1981, but it is clear that time is long gone and isn't coming back.

    2. The screws were tightening down real hard from about the 1880s through to the 1920s, when the anarchist and socialist movements in the US were gaining traction. And the elites mobilized real military style force against them, either privately through the Pinkertons and hired thugs a la the Battle of Blair Mountain and occasionally through the actual army and national guard as in the Ludlow massacre.
      After the New Deal and WWII, these sorts of things were put on the back burner for a time, but it looks like it's coming back to the forefront of the agenda.

  2. The fact that Outback Steakhouse supports it is ironic when you consider that Australia actually raised its minimum wage last year. The Australian minimum wage is over $15.00 an hour (over $20.00 an hour in US dollars). Yes, that makes it expensive to eat out, but somehow the Australian economy manages to function.

    1. That would be ironic - if Outback were an actual Australian company...

    2. Actually, it's still ironic since Outback promotes a certain image of Australia to sell its product. The fact that the real Australia pays its service workers a living wage is something American corporations don't want to spread, just imagine them all as Crocodile Dundee...

  3. Two points...

    First, we measure our world (including our own lives and worth) in money. Frankly, I don't know why we have allowed ourselves to do this, but do it we have. As long as we do this, it will be same-ole, same-ole. Money has no conscience. It has no morality, no ethics, no humanity. It has no feelings to hurt. It is never hungry, and, while it is possible for it to die it doesn't happen very often. We've abstracted virtually all decisions so that they can be made to a money-based "bottom line". When this is the way we measure worth and value, it is simply easy to screw people over.

    Second, people are constantly using the term "class warfare", when what they really mean is something more akin to an oligarchic kleptocracy. What you have is a socioeconomic and political system run buy rich elites and corporations (run by rich elites) that continually turns the screws on everybody else in order to transfer increasing amounts of money (see item 1) into their own pockets. While this is a serious problem, grossly unfair, immoral, and unethical, it isn't warfare. Warfare is what happens when you do this for a long (apparently, longer than has gone on so far) period of time and the people who are left behind find that they have nothing left to lose. At that point, any kind of spark can result in something that could truly be called a class war. Trust me, it would not be confused with what we have seen so far.

    1. Yep--as the real Bill Hicks said about the first Gulf wasn't a war because a war requires there to be TWO armies fighting. We're no where near that point in the U.S.--yet.