My name is Eduardo. I work in a fine dining restaurant in the North End as a busser. I’ve been working in the restaurant industry for about 5 years. I have worked as a dishwasher, as a cook, a busser and a food runner. I started working in the restaurant industry at a young age (15), not because I really needed the money but because I wanted to feel a bit more independent. At that time I didn’t struggle with the low wages of of a tipped worker. I only paid for my phone, only my own expenses. I didn’t have to pay rent, buy food or support a family.
However my dad did have to do all of that. My dad works for tips at a restaurant in the North End. I never realized his situation until a day that I got home after an afternoon playing soccer. He was sitting on his desk with a bunch of bills in front on him. He called me over and asked me to help him count the total amount of money to pay that month, not including the rent. He thanked me and told me I could go. That was the first time I noticed the worry and tired look on his face. That day I understood why he got really upset when my siblings and I let food go bad or left lights on for the whole night. Living off tips is hard and many don’t understand it. No people means no money, but you still have to stay in a place making only 3 dollars per hour as a busser because you can’t afford to lose that job.
When there are few or no customers “front house workers” tend to see their shift as a waste of time (I know I and most of my coworkers do) because they are only making the tipped minimum wage. I think One Fair Wage would change that. It would give tipped workers something to support themselves on even if they’re are not getting many tips. My main concern about this matter is that restaurant owners are heard the most when setting this wage and workers end up with a fifty cent raise. I think that workers need to be heard and that is why I am sharing my story.