Tipped Minimum Wage In US Hasn’t Increased From $2.13 An Hour For 30 Years
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drew attention this week to the fact that while billionaires’ wealth has continued to increase over the last 30 years, tipped minimum wage hasn’t changed by a single penny.
He wrote in part:
400 richest Americans wealth in 1991: $288 billion.
400 richest Americans wealth in 2021: $3.2 trillion.
Tipped minimum wage in 1991: $2.13 an hour.
Tipped minimum wage in 2021: $2.13 an hour.
With the wealth of the 400 richest Americans having multiplied numerous times over while tipped minimum wage has stayed the same, Sanders argued that the US must ‘create an economy that works for all of us, not just the billionaire class’.
The federal tipped minimum wage is the amount of money employees are entitled to receive before tips and has remained the same since 1991 despite inflation, meaning the purchasing power of tipped employees has diminished over the years as their wage failed to increase accordingly.
A US inflation calculation by Newsweek states that $2.13 in 1991 would be worth $4.21 in 2021 – and yet this is not recognised in the payslips of tipped workers. As a result of inflation, the federal tipped wage has lost nearly half of its value over the past three decades.
A number of states, including California, Washington and Nevada, have eliminated the tipped minimum wage, while in New York the tipped minimum wage was banned for all employees except those who work in bars and restaurants. As it remains legal in many areas, however, Sanders continues to fight for change.
The politician has long pushed for Congress to amend the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, but his latest effort failed in the upper chamber earlier this year when eight moderate Democrats opted to side with Republicans to oppose the amendment.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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