FPR Blog 61: Owners To Cut Costs From New Wage Hike Rule With Mandatory Layoffs & Part Time Work.

Before I get into statistics, compensation, slave work, lack of care for health, and 20-minute breaks for a 14-hour shift, allow me to inform the New York Government that this mandatory wage hike is not going to pan out as Governor Cuomo expected or at least hoped.

A minimum wage hike of $2.50 cents has to be met by restaurants now…

Many might not know that minimum wage has gone up from $5.00 an hour to $9.00 in the last 3 years. It was about time, considering minimum wage stayed at 5 dollars for over ten years.

There was a catch, though… 
This did not apply to restaurant employees in New York before. Tipped employees are paid as low as $2.00 and in a few cases receive $5.00 an hour. Some places pay $20.00 a shift. Every place has its own set of standards, practices, and pay.

This time around, due in part to the anger of fast food employees, every place that serves food now has to pay employees $7.50 an hour. This goes for tipped employees as well.  This has restaurant owners in a frenzy.

This was implemented to better the lives of hardworking men and women who either love the business or are paying their way through school.

Well, this is going to do the exact opposite of that.

The law might have been very well intended, but it opened the doors for restaurant owners to pull back on employee hours and shifts. Which means more people will have to work two or more jobs to survive because most places are dropping the full-time status of loyal employees who have worked for a location for many years.

People who have put their jobs in front of their family loved one's and their own health is now being put out on the street by the very people whose businesses thrived due to employee’s work ethics and personalities.

It was about a year ago that fast food employees starting demanding minimum wage to be raised to $15.00 an hour.

Most people have equated the fast food industry to a lazy man’s profession. Profession; is not the word people use when describing this, but whatever... “You can be stupid and be a manager at, “blank”. “The only people that work at, ‘blank’ are people who don’t want to work “real” jobs. “Only the stupid and worthless work at… I think by now you get the picture.

Many people don’t even see these places as restaurants. It’s affordable, garbage grade substances that have been accepted as food. It’s especially accepted by people working three jobs who don’t have time to cook their dinner.

So, when fast food employees started demanding 15 dollars an hour, people laughed. I mean, no one thought any of “these people” deserved $15 an hour.

The thing is, “these people” are working two to three jobs to support a family. I really don’t care what they’re trying to support... It could be a drug habit or a sex addiction. Whatever the case may be “these People” are WORKING hard.

There is no one who could possibly live like a human being should on $5.00 an hour. 15 dollars is actually appropriate for today’s cost of living. Unfortunately, many have to work a few jobs to achieve $15 an hour.

This took way too long and the fight should not have had to be so hard. But, what can be done after employees ask and plead for better pay? All that’s left is to demand. If you ask me, it’s honest pay. It shouldn’t be thought twice.

For those just as confused as I am on this entire situation, I post a link to wage increases nationwide and in New York. I also found information on reasons why restaurants can pay lower than minimum wage. And, it’s fact that restaurants are allowed to slave drive employees for next to nothing. Which in essence means we the working class is looked at as bodies and nothing else.

This blog is also a letter to New York Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor De Blasio.

This is not a personal pissed off blog, to irritate anyone or disrespect managers and employers.

Sure I’m feeling it, considering I’ve been in the business for half a decade. The truth is I am mad, but this is not the reason for the blog. I truly believe that this is wrong and someone has to speak out against it and I hope this sparks, at the very least, a debate on the issue.

I will also admit that I’m disappointed that a place that can only function by having solid employees would be so quick to make their lives less sustainable. It’s just like the phrase, “it’s the cost of doing business”... That part really hurts. It really makes me feel worthless. You and I are just another dispensable body.

An idea to help hardworking Americans get a little extra to hopefully improve their lives was a true blessing. Finally, a politician fighting for the people who elected him…

Unfortunately, this wage hike didn’t come with a safety net or the proper provisions to protect employees.

I know for a fact that most if not all places will have to raise prices. That part is a given… I honestly believe that one dollar added to every item; from sodas to alcohol, appetizers to entrees would be enough to balance a wage hike of two dollars and fifty cents an hour.

Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case…

The practices of restaurants have been suspect for many years. Cash deals, unclaimed tips, illegal immigrants with falsified papers and lack of appropriate time for employee breaks. This to say nothing of the mandatory meal you have to pay for, even if you don’t eat it.

Now owners are using loopholes to bend more rules. I can understand that over time can’t happen anymore, but cutting hours, shifts and turning every employee into part-timers is beyond egregious.

This is not needed for restaurants to survive a $2.50 wage increase.

Just like prohibition opened the door for easy money making crimes, owners are using this law to implement a whole new operating system. A system of operation that only benefits investors, owners and managers.

The excuse for these actions is so poor that they seem like blatant lies. And, in my honest opinion, they are. Many of their practices aren’t just suspect, they’re downright illegal.

The idea of a wage hike being imposed so people can keep one job has been shattered by greedy restaurant owners who are crying poverty over a small wage hike.

To be fair, I'm also posting this part of an article posted on informationstation.org

Most minimum wage employees work in industries with very low-profit margins. The restaurant industry, which employs close to half of the nation’s minimum wage workers,  has an average profit margin of only 2.4 percent. This means that on a $100 restaurant bill, the company only gets to keep $2.40–the rest goes to pay for food costs, rent, labor, etc. This also means that when these employers’ costs increase – like when the minimum wage is hiked – they must raise prices or cut other costs to stay profitable. Raising prices often isn’t an option because customers might stay home if their favored goods and services became more expensive. So, that leaves cutting costs. In practice, this means layoffs, reduced hours, and hiring freezes.

Despite that and a rough economy, I haven’t met a bar or restaurant owner that doesn’t live in a great big house, drives an expensive car, has their kids in the most expensive schools and plays golf on weekday afternoons. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t cry poverty to the very people you are about to destroy. It makes you look like a selfish, greedy prick. There is no sympathy for a person who passes on the cost to his or her employees, then gets in a nice car and pulls into a four car garage.

It stinks that at the end of the day the government's help set up our demise.

In doing research for this blog, I sat in a meeting where the manager actually told the staff that it may be best to start looking for another job now before this happens. Meaning you will need two jobs because you will not survive on this job alone.

My jaw dropped.

There was no one who would stand up and say, “hey, these are good people, there has to be a better plan for balance”. 

I speak of management who know the value or lack of each employee. But, managers are just as afraid. And, they have long since forgotten that they too served tables at one point and would hate it if they were in our position.

The same people who will be upset at me for writing this would have supported it if they were in my shoes. They’re going to stick to their bosses decision no matter what.

Can you imagine, a place you’ve worked at and been loyal to for years despite the good and often bad times turns and tells you, come a few weeks be ready to be screwed..?

So, I have to rock the boat and do everything I can to put everyone on notice.

I will not sit quietly... Every employee who’s been left in the dark will be enlightened and hopefully will stand up for themselves.

I’m not a civic leader, but I do have a little talent when it comes to peaking people’s interest and getting them to pay attention.

You play, you pay. It’s time for the obvious to be exploited.

In this day and age, we feel like we can’t say anything for fear it will cost us our jobs.

Well, don’t forget that every single person that was involved in the beginning of union went through the same thing.

They were threatened, fired and in many cases beat up. But, at the end of the day businesses bend. They don’t give in for the right reasons, they just want the madness to stop. It’s not just embarrassing to have picket lines outside of your business, it also shows the evil you’re trying to hide.

New York City restaurant employees, now is the time to stand together outside of your job and demand that you be treated fair and not like a pawn on a greedy person’s chess board.

Standing up and speaking out is not causing trouble or rocking the boat, it’s defending your right to be treated like a person and not a number.

Remember there are costs to doing business and as an employee you are part of said business. Asking for what you believe is fair should be welcomed because we don’t live in China and we don’t work in sweatshops making iPhones at gunpoint for 10 cents an hour…

No one grants us freedom and no one takes it away. We are free because we are alive. If we allow for businesses to use a money scale to determine what and how we get paid and treated then we ourselves are denying the freedom we possess.   

The way to get this started is by asking for a staff meeting with managers and owners. Though, first you have to make sure that many on the staff will support you. Get every co-worker's input and opinions on the matter. Find out how it affects them. 

Record all the conversations you have with fellow employees to have a record of what each individual had to say. This will be useful in your meeting and if there is no agreement or a better plan to balance the job’s $2.50 cent raise then you go to court.

In court, you can prove that you not only have proof and context of said meeting, but the judge can listen to every employee’s plight.

The next thing to do is stop working. 

Show up to work and stand outside in solidarity holding hands to signify the bond coworkers have as well as representing the chain that has been locked around the wrists of the common working class citizen.

There is nothing more embarrassing than having that in front of your place of business. Then the second worst thing is if any customer does walk through the line there is no one to serve them.

The best part will be why.

This is automatic news coverage. Once local news gets involved the mayor and governor will join the fray.

There’s always going to be the possibility that this will permanently close the business, but if they can’t do what’s right by the people who keep the place moving and shaking then they don’t deserve to be open and you deserve better.

Once a lawyer gets involved the place will most likely have to stay open or severance checks will have to be paid if the business closes.

You may not win the battle, but you will ignite a war not seen since the civil rights movement.

Hey, I bet you even get some anonymous hacktivists to join your cause and freeze owner's bank accounts.

People, it’s a new world and we are letting it become a police state where the rich can treat the poor negatively all the while the middle class falls deeper into debt. 

Business owners, CEO’s bankers and moguls all get several stay out of jail free cards. The rest of do time over a joint.

Our last line of social defense is the internet. You would be surprised at what we can accomplish just by tweeting politicians.

Don’t let this go unnoticed. I’m never going to let you forget your rights and the power you all have to move mountains and change the world.

If “We The People” worked as one on things that matter instead of a Starbucks coffee cups, we would have free will and laws that protect us and imprison the one percent and the rest of the wannabes.

So remember, only you have the power to be free. You don’t need to buy a new iPhone because the commercial tells you to. You don’t have to work a job you hate to pay for that phone and the rest of the items you take home with a swipe of a card. That invisible hand controlling us, due to our lack of independent thought.

With that said, you don’t have to sit down, shut up and take what you’re given. We forget that we are their cost and if they penny pinch on us, then they will fall and it won’t be over a tiny wage hike either.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you’re one or a zero. You may not think the world is so binary, but you would be surprised.

Spread the word, expose the truth, it's never too late.

Blog by T. Clavero for Freedom Pop RadiO

Email t@freedompopradio.com