Amy Halsted, campaign manager for Mainers for Fair Wages, sent out an email titled “LePage’s latest lie about the minimum wage,” urging supporters to contact their legislators. When calling someone else a liar, one should be especially careful not to lie.

In her email she wrote that under the new minimum-wage law, “Restaurant servers won’t have to rely solely on tips from their customers for their wages.” That is not true. No restaurant server ever has to rely solely on tips.

She refers to “subminimum wage for service workers,” which is misleading, at best. Restaurants may pay waitstaff half the minimum hourly wage if that, combined with tips, is less than full minimum wage. If it is less than minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.

In other words, no server ever makes less than minimum wage, even if they work in a restaurant that has no customers.

Why do restaurant owners care? It is not because we are cheap; it is because we need to keep all our staff happy.

Tips, by law, cannot be shared with kitchen staff. Our concern is the disparity between front of the house and back of the house. Ironically, when we raise our prices to cover higher salaries, it increases tips, which are usually based on percentage of the bill.

Mort Mather

co-owner, Joshua’s


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