At the city's minimum wage symposium last week, Saru Jayaraman, an author and activist who teaches at Berkeley and started the organization ROC United to serve workers in the restaurant industry, gave a rousing speech against tip credits. She spoke later in the day, when everyone was starting to fall asleep, but the room sure woke up to hear her. I was hoping the Seattle Channel would've caught all the panels on film, which they did, and so now (thank you Seattle Channel!) I can post Jayaraman's speech for y'all to check out:
A lot of the data she talks about is at ROC United's website, if you want to peruse further.
I also encourage you, if you have time, to watch the rest of that panel above—right after Jayaraman comes Eric Pravitz, co-owner of Hoa Salons, who says he agrees that tipping is problematic, but it's culturally built into certain industries. "We don't tell people to tip, we don't encourage them to tip," says Pravitz. "They tip, because that's just what we do in this country... It's a cultural thing, and this is what makes it difficult to come up with a policy that addresses all of these issues in an equitable way." Pravitz's story is fascinating; he and his wife opened their salon business after recognizing that the cheap nail salon industry was treating its workers—mostly immigrant women—horribly, and the goal of their business is to create a nail salon model that pays people a decent wage and is safe and healthy, in an industry where that's not often the case. He's really open about what he pays his workers and what they make in tips. It's a fascinating discussion.
(The video also includes—bonus!—city council member Bruce Harrell's jokes and Alex Zimmerman heckling from the audience.)