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PLBTA Tipped Wage Letter To State House

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PLBTA Tipped Wage Letter To State House

The following letter was sent from Chuck Moran of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to all members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after a floor debate on HB 1500, a bill that would increase the minimum wage above $15 per hour as well as mess with the tipped wage and its structure by setting it at 60 percent of minimum wage.


June 15, 2023

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,

I watched your floor debate yesterday on HB 1500 with each side pulling studies to support their position. We have likely seen the same studies in my office.

Pennsylvania’s bars and taverns don’t need studies from afar to understand what would happen in our Members’ establishments if the tipped wage be eliminated or changed in any manner. Instead of relying on studies from other states, our Association has used the past few years to sit down and speak with our Members to find out exactly what would happen in their establishments.

Our membership is primarily family-owned (small business) taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants with about 16 employees and less than 100 seats in their establishments. While we can’t speak for the large chains, we do have a good understanding of what the outcome of increasing the tipped minimum wage would be for these establishments, their tipped employees, and their customers.

What worries small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants the most isn’t the minimum wage. We regularly hear that bartenders and servers can easily make above the dollar figures that are currently being debated.

What worries our Members the most is messing with the tipped wage and its structure.

As we learned in middle school science classes, for every action, there’s an opposite and equal reaction. Based upon many conversations with establishments across the state, we have every reason to believe that the opposite and equal reaction would be

  1. Reduction in workforce. (ie., if a shift usually has four waitresses, that shift could be changed to only three.)
  2. Higher menu prices to pass the cost along to consumers.

Establishments taking advantage of the current tipped wage structure to reach the legislatively-created minimum wage figure can charge lower prices on menus, which helps maintain their competitive position and customer base.

Please don’t mess with the current tipped wage and its structure. The opposite and equal reaction just isn’t worth it for employees, employers, or customers.


Chuck Moran
Executive Director

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