The Huffington Post’s Dave Jamieson reports on the case of a powerful lobby pushing to actually lower the minimum wage for a group of workers in Florida. The state senate’s tourism and commerce committee has written a bill, SPB 7210, that would allow restaurants to pay servers as low as $2.13 rather than the current required rate of $4.65 — a reduction of $2.52.

Jamieson explains that, in addition to the state’s main restaurant lobby,  the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, OSI Restaurant Partners, which owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and other restaurant chains, is a huge backer of the bill:

One of the backers of the bill is Tampa-based OSI Restaurant Partners, owner of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill chains. OSI Partners gave more than $120,000 to 32 Florida Republicans — and $500 to one Democrat — during the 2010 election cycle, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

It is very rare for a state to lower its minimum wage for any workers. Last month, a group of lawmakers in Washington state tried to lower wages there, but the bills to do so died in committee. If the Florida bill gets any traction, it’ll likely be at least in part due to the lobbying dollars flowing from OSI Restaurant Partners.

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Filed under: Plutocrats

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  • Billy J.

    Much ado (sp) about nothing. $120K is chickenfeed. This bill too will die in committee.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Goucher/100001484118399 Michael Goucher

      I certainly hope so. Government at all levels in this country has become disgraceful.

  • D. J. Fone

    The Greed Over People Replutocraticans behind this sinister bill will proclaim it will allow restaurants to hire more people, since the GOP one-percenters are all “job creators”, right? In fact, here’s what the restaurant chains will do: With the dramatically lower minimum wage, they’ll pile even more “side work” and other normal minimum-wage grunt work onto the tipped servers’ duties, so they won’t need to hire anyone at all. Soon, as I’ve seen in some other restaurants, your $2.13 per hour server, who lives on tips, will also be mixing your table’s drinks, tossing your salads, plating your desserts, and staying two hours extra each night at cut-rate to clean up the restaurant.

    If you’re a restaurant chain exec with a choice between hiring more people at $7.50 per hour, or just throwing those duties onto the backs of people making $2.13, what would YOU do, while you add up your bonuses and stock options?

  • Clark David Kimble

    The Greed Over People Replutocraticans behind this sinister bill will proclaim it will allow restaurants to hire more people, since the GOP one-percenters are all “job creators”, right? In fact, here’s what the restaurant chains will do: With the dramatically lower minimum wage, they’ll pile even more “side work” and other normal minimum-wage grunt work onto the tipped servers’ duties, so they won’t need to hire anyone at all. Soon, as I’ve seen in some other restaurants, your $2.13 per hour server, who lives on tips, will also be mixing your table’s drinks, tossing your salads, plating your desserts, and staying two hours extra each night at cut-rate to clean up the restaurant.

    If you’re a restaurant chain exec with a choice between hiring more people at $7.50 per hour, or just throwing those duties onto the backs of people making $2.13, what would YOU do, while you add up your bonuses and stock options?

  • Sociopol

    Disgusting. Corporations have no conscience. They should not be allowed to participate in making laws affecting humans.

  • Jesselebby

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Republican ideology sucks. I know it’s all about giving more to the “job creators” and sucking the working poor dry. Killing the Unions so that the working class lost its one lobbying strength it had and on and all so that the rich could win their class warfare against us. So ya I understand the big picture and read a lot of books by people like Thomas Frank and Michele Moore, etc. But having worked in a restraurant as first a dishwasher, then a cook, all during the time my girlfriend was a waitress there I have an inside appreciation and a bone tp pick about what waitresses make. First of all I’ll tell you the hardest and worst job to have is being the dish washer. It’s humid and hot as hell back there. It stinks and the smell seems to seep into your sink, and it destroyers the sink of your hands. Going out to bus up dishes was the best part of the job. I got out of the hell hole for a few minutes and into the nice air conditioned area my girlfriend got to work in. Then I moved to cooking almost as bad, but paid a bit more. Still was very hot and came with its own set of downsides. Well anyway, all the while I made $5.25 and hour for washing dished she made like a base of $3 plus about $10-30 an hour in tips. Then I got paid $8 an hour for cooking. Still I came nowhere close to what she made in a night. She had anywhere from $50 to $100 a day in tips. On top of that she did not have to pay taxes on it because the goverment has no way of knowing what she really made. She paid taxes as if she made the true minumun wage which was 5.25 back then. She did not pay like she made $20 an hour. Plus while I worked 8 hours to make barely 50 she could come in for 4 hours during lunch or supper and make twice as much as me in half the time! So in essence she made 4x what it did all the time. Is waitressing that much harder to do? I used to get real pissed that society does not reward the cook or the dishwasher for a job well done. Only the waitress got the tip. I never understood that. If a customer liked the meal why not tip the cook and throw a token amount in for the waitress who only carried it out to you. Of cause my girlfriend never say it that way because of coarse she benifitted from this unfair system of tips. Anyway, I always said that the boss could pay these girls zero per hour and they would still come into work. There is nothing in town that can compare to making that kind of money with no skills at all. Look around were else can a person make 20-30 and hours strait out of high school with out it being a technical or degree level job? I find it silly when people discuss the problems waitresses have and at the same time totally ignore the other people that were involuved in preparing that meal from them. As if the waitress magically makes the plates clean, and then puts food on it. What I really would like to see this bill do is reduce the base rage of waitresses down to near zero and then force the restrarant owners to transfer that wage savings and increase the cooks and dishwashers base pay. Or better yet just pass a law stating that all the crew splits the tip. In this way perhaps there would not be such turnover. Oh ya speaking of that we had constant turnover in cook and dishwashers because of the low pay and overly hard work. At the same time the waitresses never quit. I think that should speak volumes. They knew that had a good thing and would not leave to do something else. Food for thought.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laurel-Sayler/100000556751385 Laurel Sayler

      Don’t know what state you were working in but in CA you split the tips with everyone but management. I don’t think that tips should be considered as part of anyone’s salary because you can’t guarantee that people will leave a tip. You should make at least minimum wage and tips are extra and split with everyone but management

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186745072 Olivia Ferguson

        NO SPLITSEYS! People in the back of the house get paid more for a reason. they do not deal with John Q Publics finiky eating or his loud ass kids who drop food on the floor, spill drinks, they dont deal with the drunkards, they dont have to put on a smile and please everyone. when u split tips, people get LAZY. the server does all the work and a dishwasher walks out with her tips?!! I DONT THINK SO!!!!!!!

    • Infamousangel55

      and when food was thrown because improperly cooked it is the waitress that wears it… when a dish is dirty she is one cursed… she runs for refills… if u r slow she is blamed… waitressing is hard and under appreciated by the kitchen staff that does their job and goes home without them getting the chaff from their mistakes… and the feet… aaarrrgggh… no shoes make it comfortable

    • Rosecpp

      Without a waitress to flatter the diner into believing the slop on most plates is worth eating you wouldn’t need dishwashers, cooks or table busers… that is why they get the tips and the others have a job paid at an hourly wage. I dislike any hourly person being paid less than minimum wage for any job, but hold on before you go after wait staff. Revenue generating employees make the business work, not the other way around. A dishwasher can be a cook, but can you keep a customer happy and coming back to spend more and more money that pays your hourly wage? Nope, think about it… and thank the waitress who sells the slop you cook, since you used to be a dishwasher and now she has to sell it.

      • Rosecpp

        Also note… I made a lot of good money serving customers who ate out, and I split half my tips with everybody who made it easier for me to make money. The buser, the cook, the hostess all got a piece of the pie… I got more customers and got the best customers and we made money… Teamwork!

  • http://twitter.com/amethyst7771 amethyst777

    If I worked there, I would walk out as soon as I saw this! 2.13 an hour is too much to pay the HARD work these people do? Screw you Outback I never liked your food, shoe leather taste better. I tried it twice, and it sucked both times!
    I damn sure won’t be back now!

    • Justinflv

      I agree… You took the words out of my mouth.

  • http://twitter.com/amethyst7771 amethyst777

    http://www.outback.com/contactus/generalcomment.aspx

    Tell them what you think about it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186745072 Olivia Ferguson

    DO NOT EAT AT ANY OF THESE RESTAURANTS!

  • Paul

    Funny. Outback is supposed to be Australian type food. Well, I know Australia well, and tipping is not common because…THEY GET PAID A LIVING WAGE!!!

    This country is so effed up…

    • Tahh

      Yea I know austarlia well to and you get bad service and terrible food unless you out the nose for it. Servers get paid off tips therefore work hard for their money and keeps cost low for the retaurant. Therefore when you go to eat at the restaurant you pay less for food get good service and tip the server based off service!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000990935144 Lyric Van

    Shouldn’t come as a surprise that Romney is a partner in the firm (he co-founded) Bain Capital – OSI Restaurant Partners is a subsidiary of Bain Capitol. Bain Capital owns a majority interest in OSI. Hence – Mitt Romney is backing the lowering of wages. Shocker! LOL ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000990935144 Lyric Van

    Ha – Republicans backing the lowering of employee wages – When OSI Partners is owned by Bain Capitol and Bain Capitol has none other than Mitt Romney as a partner. Do we really want a President who is worth 250 million BUT wants to lower wages for Restaurant workers??? REALLY?

  • Ancara42

    think Bain Capital…………..think ROMNEY…..and Bain Capital. My research is showing that Bain is involved with Outback Steakhouse. Think about picketing the restaurants involved. Think about going to other restaurants. Write letters to the local newspapers. Call your elected official and write them and let them know that you don’t back this bill. DO SOMETHING to stop something.

  • Ancara42

    Most of all, remember when you go to vote this year that Romney has been involved with Bain Capital and Bain Capital is involved with the Outback Steakhouse and wants the minimum wage lowered. After all, that’s more money in the hands of those in Bain Capital, the 1%.

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  • Rh1994

    Florida has been in republican control for the past 14 years, if you want reason to get rid of them, just think “Citizens Insurance”

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  • Tahh

    I see here everyone bashing Bain Capitol and outback steakhouse. Here’s a great idea….. Let’s gave the government run everything so that everything runs like crap, slow and counter productive. This garbage bill will not pass

  • Danclay80

    No longer will I be eating at outback. I go to the local one maybe twice a week.

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  • Angelo_Frank

    Precisely why I don’t give any of these restaurant chains my business. They are predatory corporations beholden to the shareholders and exorbitantly over-paid CEOs.

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