A new bill has been introduced that would raise the base pay for tipped workers.

Stathis Antonakopoulos, the owner of Carnegie Diner & Cafe, said he’s strongly against it because of the way it will impact his business.

What You Need To Know

  • The New York City Hospitality Alliance released a survey Monday showing that 88% surveyed were “extremely concerned” by a bill that would raise the base pay for tipped workers

  • Stathis Antonakopoulos, who owns Carnegie Diner & Cafe, said the bill will cause businesses to shut down, and customers will have to pay more

  • Assembymember Jessica González-Rojas, who sponsored the bill, said, “In an industry where there’s a lot of inequities, we need to make sure we raise the floor [base pay] for everybody”

“You’re going to have to pay $40 to have an omelette, because we cannot afford that,” Antonakopoulos said. 

The bill introduced in the state Assembly would require tipped workers to earn $17 an hour plus tips by 2028.

“There is no reason for our state’s officials to end the working model of our industry and our small businesses and jobs on the chopping block,” Andrew Rigie, director of New York City Hospitality Alliance, said.

The Hospitality Alliance on Monday released a report surveying 879 restaurants in the five boroughs. About 88% of those surveyed said they were “extremely concerned.”

Under the current law, restaurant employers in the city can pay workers who receive tips a base wage of $10.65 per hour if that wage combined with their tips equals or exceeds $16, which is the current minimum wage. Otherwise, they are required by law to pay the employee the difference.

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, who represents parts of Queens, explained how she believes this would help tipped workers.

“In an industry where there’s a lot of inequities, we need to make sure we raise the floor for everybody. Again, the minimum wage is not a tremendous amount of wealth. It’s sort of the bare minimum and this on top for good service,” González-Rojas said.

“One Fair Wage” is a campaign that aims to raise wages for workers and working conditions in the service sector across the United States.

It provided this statement that reads in part: “The 'One Fair Wage’ legislation ensures predictable and stable wages for workers.”

One customer at the diner had mixed opinions on it.

“I can understand why the workers can appreciate it, but you have to think of the other side: the consumer, the customer, of how much we’re paying as well,” Craig Scheber said.

As for Antonakopoulos, he said this is the last thing he needs.

“We cannot afford to pay more money on tipped employees that are already making a lot of money by working in the restaurant business and getting tipped 10% to 20%,” he said.

Antonakopoulos said he would have to eliminate servers and do a digital order option if this takes effect.

He said he wishes the restaurant owners were part of the process of developing the bill.