NEW YORK -- Two major restaurant chains are being pressured by employees to increase their minimum wage, since state law does not require it.
Workers rallied in Midtown on Thursday demanding tipped employees receive a $15 wage, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.
"Food, beverage, hospitality hotels that you stay in, we deserve to be paid," restaurant worker Jennifer Yoon said.
"You can't live off tips. You need an actual paycheck," Applebee's employee Arielle Tess Edwards said.
City Comptroller Brad Lander threw his support behind workers demonstrating outside a hotel where Applebee's and IHOP executives were meeting to vote on whether the subminimum wage should be changed.
Edwards proposed the fair wage resolution.
"Urging them to change their policies in their restaurants so that we earn minimum wage, plus our tips on top," she said.
Restaurant staff in New York City are the last service workers to still make $10 an hour. State law allows employers to make up the $5 difference with what's called a "cash wage," essentially assuming they'll earn the rest in tips.
"They think we're getting that 20 percent tip and we're not. A lot of the times people don't tip 20 percent. They tip 5 percent, which is not feasible," Edwards said.
Applebee's does pay a $15 minimum wage to staff at its two Manhattan restaurants, while in the outer boroughs, servers still make $10.
"We look forward to hearing Applebee's justification as to why they paid those two restaurants and not everyone," said Nataly Chalco, New York campaign manager for the advocacy group One Fair Wage.
Advocates believe a higher minimum wage would help owners fulfill their staffing shortages.
"They can't retain employees because we can't live on less than minimum wage," Yoon said. "I know a lot of restaurant and bar owners that would benefit from this as well."
Some independent restaurants in the city do pay their employees minimum wage. Advocates hope if these large chains upgraded wages, others might follow suit.
CBS2 reached out to Dine Brands, which owns Applebee's and IHOP, but hasn't received a response. Official results of the vote aren't expected until Friday.
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