Florida Servers Could Soon Earn 1985 Minimum Wage

Under SB 2106, a restaurant servers wage could go from $4.65/hr to $2.13/hr

Restaurant servers could see their paychecks slashed by more than half this summer if Senate Bill 2106 passes.

That would make their minimum wage the same as it was in 1985.

Luanna Santana is on her feet for hours a day, taking orders, filling drinks, and cashing customers out. If SB 2106 passes, Santana will be bringing in less money, going from $4.65 an hour to $2.13.

"On a slow day, I would be making no money at all, and on a busy day all I'd be pretty much making is tips," Santana said. 

The bill to slash tipped employees minimum wage was requested by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. According to the South Florida AFL-CIO, many corporate restaurants, like the Outback Steakhouse, like the idea.

Even though it would save restaurants money, the manager of Sal's Italian Ristorante in Miramar said it doesn't matter. His employees work hard and deserve more. 

"She's over here running around like crazy. She doesn't know what to do with herself and she's only getting paid $4," Christian Aguilar said about Santana. "If it was up to me, I'd really higher her hourly wage to $7 or something because she's just running around all day."

Restaurants would have to promise that employees would make at least $9.98 an hour with tips to qualify for the new wage. That's something most servers say is impossible to predict in the food business.

"I have tables that will spend like $50 or more and not leave a penny," Santana said.

The bill has already passed one Senate committee, but still has many more steps to go. If approved, it would go into effect in July.

Tipped workers, labor, community, and faith leaders will hold a rally outside the Miami Lakes Outback Steakhouse to urge the restaurant, and other corporate chains, to abandon their support of SB 2106. The rally will begin at 3 p.m. at 15490 NW 77th Court.

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