Minimum wage increase backers sue restaurant-backed ballot measure cutting pay for tipped workers

By Caitlin Sievers | AZ Mirror

The group behind a ballot measure that aims to ask Arizonans in November to raise the minimum wage and do away with the lower wages paid to employees who receive tips is suing over a competing measure passed by the legislature that would decrease wages for tipped workers. 

The measure, which was brought to the legislature by the Arizona Restaurant Association, would allow restaurants to pay tipped workers 25% less than minimum wage. After being previously voted down in the Senate, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1040, also known as the “Tipped Workers Protection Act,” finally passed on June 12, one of the jam-packed last days of this year’s legislative session, by a vote of 16-12, with only Republicans voting in favor.

The measure received support from all Republicans and a few Democrats when it passed through the House of Representatives by a vote of 35-24 in April. 

Currently, state law allows restaurants to pay tipped workers $3 less than minimum wage and use the workers tips to backfill up to the minimum wage. If approved, the ballot measure backed by restaurant owners would allow employers to pay tipped workers 25% less than minimum wage — as long as they make at least $2 per hour more than the minimum wage with tips included. 


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