**IN CASE YOU MISSED IT**
FLORIDA TODAY: RESTAURANT WORKER: WHY I’M VOTING ‘NO’ ON AMENDMENT 2 TO RAISE FLORIDA’S MINIMUM WAGE | OPINION
Tallahassee, FL — Florida Today published today an opinion column by Heather Parsons, a bartender and restaurant worker at the Crab Trap in Destin. She reveals that Ballot Amendment 2, if passed, would not only be a pay cut for her, it will destroy the very industry it intends to help. Parsons is a restaurant worker who depends on her job to provide a good income and a flexible schedule to raise her family.
“As a bartender, I am able to work hard so that I can make good money. When I was a single mom, this job afforded me the flexibility to raise my kids, but also pay my bills.
“Amendment 2 would change all of that. This ballot amendment would gradually hike Florida’s minimum wage up to $15 per hour by 2026. Businesses would be required to pay everyone the mandatory minimum wage, including part-time and full-time workers, students and 20-year restaurant veterans like me.
“There’s no way small businesses like the seafood restaurant where I work can afford to pay all employees with varying levels of experience a minimum of $15 an hour. Amendment 2 would devastate the restaurant industry, along with retail and other service industries that are the lifeblood of Florida’s economy.”
Parsons has been in the hospitality business for more than 20 years and has seen first-hand the challenges restaurants continue to face through COVID-19. Other cities— like Seattle and San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — have seen a wage hike fail, hurting the very employees it was intended to help, just like Parsons. She believes those campaigning for Ballot Amendment 2 do not truly understand the industry.
“These small businesses are already struggling to survive through COVID-19.
“If operating costs are forced to rise, owners and managers will have to make the difficult decisions to cut jobs, reduce hours and raise prices. Some will be forced to close altogether. We just can’t afford that.
“We’ve seen this fail in other cities across the nation — like Seattle and San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — that a higher minimum wage ended up hurting the very same employees it intended to help — employees like me. Just to make ends meet, business owners added a service charge to the bill that went directly to the business to help them cover the cost of higher wages. With a 20% service charge, customers stopped giving tips. Hard-working servers like me, who enjoy working hard for tips, were taking home far less than they did before.
“But that’s not all. In many cases, increasing prices and adding a service charge wasn’t enough for businesses to make ends meet. Many were forced to close leaving servers like me out of a job and a paycheck altogether.
“I’m proud of my career in this industry and the service I provide to anyone who steps foot into our restaurant. But $15 an hour is a pay cut for me, and so many others like me across the state who get tips on top of our wages.
“Those who think this mandated wage hike is a good thing may have never been a server, or a hostess, or a bartender. They do not understand our industry, or our workers who depend on jobs that provide a good income and a flexible schedule so we can raise our families.
“I have been dedicated to serving my customers for decades, and now I’m asking for a favor in return. I want to keep my job and my pay. Florida voters, please stand with small businesses, my Crab Trap family and hard workers like me and vote “no” on Amendment 2.”
Amendment 2 Hurts You is a campaign to raise awareness for the consequences of Ballot Amendment 2 on small businesses, workers and the economy.
Learn more about how Ballot Amendment 2 will devastate Florida:
Help save Florida jobs by voting no on Ballot Amendment 2 this November