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$2.13 for 21 years: I think it's time!

Having worked in a restaurant for seven years wearing many hats, mainly server/bartender, I can relate to the struggle some of these individuals are currently experiencing. Living solo from a server wage, maintaining an apartment and two cats, was tough enough; I can only imagine what it must be like to support a family. Currently the federal minimum wage for a tipped wage worker is $2.13 per hour and has not been assessed or changed in 21 years.

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Photo by Carli Jean. (This photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons 0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication License.)

While working full time as a bartender, I found that amount to be insufficient. I was dissatisfied not because paychecks read $0.00 but because it wasn’t adequate for taxes or healthcare premiums. Many times after I filed taxes I would owe state and federal taxes in amounts between $1,100-2,500. Best practice is to set aside 20% of earnings each shift to cover state and federal taxes. This is hard to do when bills need to be paid, household items need to be bought, and fur babies need food. Naturally, I hoped a change would be made while I was in the profession; unfortunately, my prayers were never answered.

BUT, we have the opportunity to make that change now. Show your support at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United or the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

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Photo by Joanna Boj. (This photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons 0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication License.)

Milena is a GA Department of Public Health 2015-2016 Dietetic Intern who has worked with the Supplemental Nutrition Education Program for Women, Infants and Children for seven and a half years.

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