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Hollywood Stars Fight for Waitresses—Who Push Back

At least that's what the New York Times is finding
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2019 4:00 PM CDT
In this Feb. 20, 2018, photo, Amy Poehler, left, and others listen to speakers during a discussion about subminimum wage workers that depend on tips for their living in New York. Poehler was there to...   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – Hollywood A-listers like Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Poehler are bent on saving New York waitresses—but the response thus far isn't exactly positive, the New York Times reports. The celebs are among 16 actresses who wrote New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to raise servers' lower minimum wage in order to create a better environment for working women. Saying 70% of restaurant servers are female, the letter pointed to research that "relying on tips creates a more permissive work environment where customers feel entitled to abuse women in exchange for 'service,'" per the New York Daily News. "Women deserve to earn a fair base wage so that the tips they still collect don't come at a personal cost."

But some New York servers are pushing back, saying they earn more from tips and don't want celebrity support. "The resounding message from servers in New York to these actresses in Hollywood is to just leave us alone," says Maggie Raczynski, who tends bar at an Outback Steakhouse upstate. "These celebrities have literally no idea. I feel like they need to butt out." She also wrote a pretty biting letter to the A-listers on behalf of the Restaurant Workers of America. As it stands, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 federally, $7.50 in upstate New York, and $10 in New York City. The state's Labor Department is reviewing the issue, which could also affect businesses like food delivery, nail salons, and car washes. (Read more minimum wage stories.)

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