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Tennessee does not have a state minimum

wage law, instead the federal minimum wage
of $7.25 applies. The tipped minimum wage
is even lower, standing at $2.13 for the last
23 years. In 1991 it was pegged at 50% of
the federal minimum wage. In 1996 it was
officially depegged from the minimum wage
and has remained frozen ever since. Including
tips, tipped workers in Tennessee earn a
median wage of only $8.00 — equivalent to
$16,640 for a full-time year-round employee.
However, tipped workers generally are allowed
part-time schedules that vary by season.
Seven states have eliminated the tipped
minimum wage — in those states tipped
workers receive the full minimum wage.
The Rising American Electorate refers to the
demographic groups that are growing the
most rapidly, historically with lower voter
participation rates, but whose growing civic
engagement has been crucial in tipping the
scales in recent elections. Tipped workers
are primarily women, nearly 40% are moms,
and although many are married, half of these
are single moms. Although the median age for
tipped workers is 28, half of them are younger.
And they are racially diverse, overrepresented
by Latinos, Asians, and African Americans
compared to the broader workforce.
They are also a highly educated group.
Tipped workers are a snapshot of the RAE.
TIPPED WORKERS AND THE RISING AMERICAN ELECTORATE
THE STATE
OF TIPPED
WORKERS
In Tennessee there are over 90,000 tipped
workers, and 66% of these work in the
restaurant industry. The restaurant industry
employs nearly 10% of the workforce and
is one of the fastest growing sectors of the
US economy. Unfortunately, the restaurant
industry offers several of Tennessee’s lowest
paid jobs. Seven of the ten lowest paid
occupations are in the restaurant industry,
and two of these are tipped occupations.
TIPPED
MINIMUM WAGE
$2.13
MINIMUM WAGE
$7.25
MEDIAN WAGE FOR
TIPPED WORKERS
INCLUDING TIPS
$8.00
GENDER
73%
2
7
%
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
www.rocunited.org
2 LOWEST PAID
TIPPED OCCUPATIONS
TIPPED WORKERS WHO
WORK IN RESTAURANTS
66%
SERVERS
BUSSERS, RUNNERS, AND
BARTENDER ASSISTANTS
T ENNESSEE
In states with a tipped minimum wage of $2.13,
the poverty rates for workers of color is nearly
double that of the seven states without a tipped
minimum wage, with one in four living in poverty.
WHITE PEOPLE OF COLOR ALL
POVERTY RATES IN $2.13 STATES
16% 25% 20%
POVERTY RATES IN STATES WITH NO TIP CREDIT
13% 14% 14%
TIPPED WORKERS AND THE RISING AMERICAN ELECTORATE
White 75%
Black 13%
Asian 5%
Latino 5%
Other 2%
<_
24 38%
25-34 22%
35-44 16%
45+ 24%
RACE
AGE
HIGHER EDUCATION
EDUCATION
PARENTS WITH CHILDREN
ON FREE LUNCHES
42%
MARITAL &
PARENTAL
STATUS
50
%
Married 33%
Parents 31%
Dads 17%
Moms 37%
Single Moms 18%
P
O
V
E
R
T
Y
RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
Living off tips is precarious, but it doesn’t have
to be this way. Raising the minimum wage and
eliminating the tipped credit would provide
a significant stimulus to the U.S. economy in
tipped wages alone, providing a boost to local
economies and the broader food industry, as well.
FOR MORE INFO rocunited.org/stateoftippedworkers/
The industry projects employment will continue
to grow at the rate of 9% over the next decade.
H
INDUSTRY PROJECTED SALES 2014

10.1 BILLION
B
I
L
L
I
O
N
I
N
D
U
S
T
R
Y

G
R
O
W
T
H
50%
P
O
V
E
R
TY

R
A
T
E
P
O
V
E
R
TY

R
A
T
E
T
I
P
P
E
D

R
E
S
T
A
URA
N
T

W
O
R
K
E
R
S
T
I
P
P
E
D

WO
R
K
E
R
S
27
%
23
%
WORKERS ON
FOOD STAMPS
2X REST OF TN
WORKFORCE
22%
28
MEDIAN AGE
of tipped
worker moms
are single moms
MINIMIM
WAGE
$10.10
$12.00
$15.00
TIPPED
STIMULUS
$12.7
$19.4
$30.1
TIPPED RESTAURANT WORKERS
live in POVERTY at 3X the rate
of the Tennessee workforce.