Letter: Tipped workers in Portland deserve dignity, value

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As a Lutheran pastor serving at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, I want to urge the City Council to raise the base wage for tipped workers.

One of the central teachings in my tradition is to love others, honoring their human dignity and worth.

When we talk about this commandment in my congregation, we are talking about honoring the value and dignity of every human life. We are talking about our need to ensure that every person in our community has access to the resources they need to live a full life. For workers, this means being paid a living wage, regardless of where you work.

Within the tipped wage system, the commandment to love our neighbor greatly speaks to the need for employers to be intentional in making sure their employees are being paid at least their fair wage as named by our legal system, the minimum wage. This is often a role that rests on the shoulders of tipped workers, when it is clearly a responsibility of employers – and one they gladly own. Therefore, I strongly urge the council to raise the base wage for tipped workers as it will help to make universality in the minimum wage more realistic and also strives to honor the human dignity of tipped workers in Portland.

All workers in Portland deserve to be able to live off of the money they make from their employment. Why would we consider leaving tipped workers out?

The Rev. Maria Anderson