Like many tipped workers, Dunder has trouble making ends meet because of an obscure federal provision called the tip credit, which has established a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers at $2.15 per hour, or $4,333 a year for a full-time worker. Forty-five states have established slightly higher sub-minimum wages. For example, Michigan pays $2.65 an hour.
The federal full minimum wage is $7.25 per hour or about $15,000 a year for a 40-hour work week.
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC-United), a New York-based national nonprofit restaurant worker organization, wants to raise and index the federal minimum wage for tipped workers to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
They say the hike is needed to provide a livable income. Tipped workers, the group says, are more likely to fall into poverty than those who receive minimum wage. Servers rely on food stamps at nearly double the rate of the general population.