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Not everyone is toasting proposal of wage increase for Chicago's tipped workers

Not everyone is toasting proposal of wage increase for Chicago's tipped workers
Not everyone is toasting proposal of wage increase for Chicago's tipped workers 02:48

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It seems like a sure thing, but many restaurant owners and service employees aren't happy about a wage increase for tipped workers.

The Chicago City Council is to hear the proposal on Wednesday.

CBS 2's Sabrina Franza explains why many in the industry oppose the plan.

Controversy surrounds proposal of wage increase for Chicago's tipped workers 02:22

Some workers who receive tips right now worry that this plan will actually cause them to go home with less money than they are currently making, despite an actual salary increase.

Restaurant owners are worried it'll impact their bottom line and costs could trickle down to the consumer.

"Is the restaurant hospitality community, the majority happy with this? Absolutely not."

Sam Toia is the president of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

"There's no question the mayor had the votes in the City Council to pass this," Toia said.

He said that Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's campaign promise, to raise the salary for sub-minimum wage workers, tipped employees like those in the restaurant industry to minimum wage, was going to pass in the City Council whether he had a seat at the table or not.

"Getting to the table means a five-year phasing rather than a two-year phasing," Toia said.

For him, that small victory, incorporating this plan over the next five years instead of two, gave the industry a longer period to raise their sub-minimum wage workers.

Those making $9.48 an hour to $15.80 an hour.

"This gives Chicago restaurant operators some time. They need to adjust to working with new rules," Toia said.

Right now it's required that employers of tipped workers compensate their employees if they make less than minimum wage with tips.

Others worry raising wages raises the cost of everything, which means customers could tip less than ever on top of new prices.

That's been the trend in California, where the state requires employees to pay full minimum wage before tips.

"The average per check tips are lower, which means it ultimately does limit the bartenders and servers' income and the number of jobs created by the industry are lower as you learn to do more as an owner with fewer staff," said Pat Doerr, director of the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago.

Doerr wished he and his members were asked their opinion before the public hearing on Wednesday.

"it was a campaign promise, a deliverable campaign promise, so I kind of expected it."

An additional concern is that visitors to Chicago would rather spend less money dining out in a suburb. Only time will tell the actual trends.

The proposal should be heard at City Hall Wednesday with a full council vote in October. It is expected to pass.

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