I am a bartender/server at a well-known restaurant in town. It was never my intention to have this be my career, rather a job that allowed me to pursue what I was really interested in, film.
In 2002 I moved to California to work in film production. Four years ago I sustained a severe back injury and returned home for surgery. When I had recovered, I found that searching for a job in my field proved very difficult. There are very few film production jobs available in Iowa compared to Los Angeles.
Eventually I found myself relying on skills that I developed in my early adulthood to support myself, bartending and serving. Although I make enough to barely stay afloat, I would be lying if I said I was able to comfortably support myself. I am working hard to improve my situation by currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree.
Servers are taxed on the tips we receive. My paychecks are usually quite small, if anything at all. I make my money off the people I serve. Excluding tip-wage individuals from the minimum wage increase would ensure that we continue to never receive a real check, putting us at the mercy of our customers to tip us enough to survive on.
A minimum wage of $8.25 is not enough to sustain a single person without dependents, let alone a family. We need to do better than that. We must find a clear path to a livable wage for all Linn County workers.