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Minnesota restaurant owners make case for ‘tipped employee tier policy’

This plea was sent to Governor Mark Dayton Tuesday, with the goal to create fair and equal workplaces within the restaurant industry.

“The reason we're here today is to convey a message to Governor Dayton and to the leaders of the House and Senate,” said Dan McElroy, Executive Vice President of the Minnesota Restaurant Association.

It's a proposal the Minnesota Restaurant Association has been working on for about three years.

“I have people say 'Well, isn't that sort of the tip credit?' Well, it's a better idea than a tip credit,” said McElroy.

A motion to keep the minimum wage for servers and tipped employees at $8.00 an hour – the current rate – if they make at least $12 an hour with their wage and tips combined.

“Not doing so creates fairly serious irregularities or inequities between tipped employees and non–tipped employees,” McElroy explained.

This, in response to the upcoming increase in Minnesota's minimum wage, which will be $9 an hour starting in August 2015, and $9.50 an hour in August 2016.

“On a normal day, about 50 percent of our staff are tipped employees,” said Lucas Dean, a Grandma’s employee.

Some Duluth restaurant operators are on board.

“This tiered wage is really going to help all of us, it's going to allow these servers to keep their jobs,” said Carol Valentini of Valentini’s Vicino Lago.

Dean is a bartender and server at Grandma's.

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