NYS is working to increase minimum wage for tipped workers to $7.50
As a person who worked in the restaurant industry for more than a year, the specialty minimum wage of $5.00 was depressing. It was exacerbated by the tip sharing scheme (take for example a 20% tip provided by a customer: we would split that according to points or percentages to waiters, bus boys, runners, bartenders, and sometimes the host/hostess).
In addition, the insistence of restaurants to limit their labor costs (as if employees were the ultimate anti-thesis to their profits) creats more havoc. We made crap dollars and now you want to take off two shifts because it's too expensive to have three waiters on the floor? Then the general manager complains about the poor service of the night and you wonder how we feel straddled between a rock and a hard place. It goes on and on...
With the general lack of respect of service industry workers, increasing the minimum wage is the very least our government can do. While it still come with caveats (i.e., workers earn a reduced minimum wage if their cumulative tips exceed the minimum wage), it will force restaurant owners to recognize the value of their employees with a dollar amount. Of course, I wish the concept of tipping would just go away. It's dangerous folly to place the fate of a person's salary in the hands of a customer who couldn't give a damn.