O P I N I O N
Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.
With an evenly split U.S. Senate, the vote of each Senator will be critical over the next two years on legislation that affects each and every one of us.
Just last week Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were being pressed to support the bill to increase the minimum wage and eliminate the tip wage. The former hasn’t been increased in over a decade and the latter primarily applies to restaurant employees. By keeping these two different items bundled, it put a great deal of pressure on NH’s Senators, as raising the minimum wage has been a critical point of discussion in the Democrat Party, and their leadership was pushing heavily for it to be increased.
In NH fashion, Senators Shaheen and Hassan listened to those who would be most impacted by eliminating the tip wage and made the difficult political decision to break with leadership and party to vote against the bill. Tipped restaurant employees in NH were not asking for this; in fact, most are against it as they make more in tips than the minimum wage, including the proposed hike to $15 per hour.
A grassroots effort (https://welikeourtips.com) garnered more than 750 supporters to keep the tip wage and tip credit as it exists. It was their voices that made their way to Senators Shaheen and Hassan along with those of us who are doing everything we can to navigate the pandemic and keep our restaurants going and our employees working.
The Senators also knew they would draw the ire of Washington and special interests. In the end they chose not to side with party; rather, they did what was best for NH and for that we thank them and stand with them for standing with our industry and employees. It takes courage to stand up and Senators Shaheen and Hassan have done just that.
Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Your thoughtful prose on topics of general interest are welcome. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line, The Soapbox.
Bill Greiner lives in Bedford and is a Real Estate Strategist & Adviser and co-owner of Great NH Restaurants, Inc.
Tom Boucher lives in Bedford and is CEO-Owner of Great NH Restaurants, Inc.