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Tips: the mainstay of many hotel workers' pay.

Reported customer tips averaged about half the cash earnings of waiters and waitresses in hotels and motels studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics during July through September 1983. The survey, covering 23 metropolitan areas, found employer-paid wages making up the balance. In most areas, these wages averaged between $2 and $3 an hour, largely reflecting the tip allowance employers can apply toward meeting the Federal minimum wage of $3.35 an hour.

Customer tips also contributed substantially to the earnings of several other occupational groups. For waiter and waitress assistant, tips commonly averaged 16 to 22 percent of their earnings, 44 to 57 percent for bellpersons, 25 to 40 percent for public bartenders, and less than 20 percent for service usually had the highest employer-paid wages, ranging from $3.99 an hour in Dallas--Fort Worth to $10.16 in Las Vegas. (See table 1.) Public bartenders, receiving tips to a greater extent than service bartenders, had wages averaging from $3.55 an hour in Miami to $9.83 in San Francisco-Oakland.

Although service bartenders, who prepare drinks for waiters and waitresses to serve, usually averaged more in wages than public bartenders, this pattern was reversed when tips were included in the comparisons. Similar patterns occurred between other occupations, including waiters and waitresses and their assistants. For example, table waiters and waitresses in full-course restaurants averaged less in wages than their assistants in each area surveyed--usually by 30 to 60 percent. When tips were included in the comparisons, waiters and waitresses averaged more--usually by 40 to 70 percent.

Paid holidays, most commonly 6 to 8 days annually, were provided to at least three-fourths of the nonsupervisory, nonoffice workers in each area studied. At least nine-tenths of the workers in each area were also covered by paid vacations, typically 1 week after 1 year of service, 2 weeks after 2 years, and 3 weeks after 10 years. Life, hospitalization, surgical, basic medical, and major medical insurance (for which the employer paid at least part of the cost), were available to three-fourths or more of the workers in nearly all areas. Retirement pension plans were available to a majority of workers in 10 of the 23 areas. Also, food and beverage service workers typically received at least one free meal a day.

The 2,050 establishments within scope of the survey employed a total of 356,000 workers during July through September 1983. Of this total, nonsupervisory, nonoffice employees represented five-sixths of the work force (296,000 workers). Nearly one-half of these workers were concentrated in Las Vegas (59,500 workers), Atlantic City (22,000), New York (20,600), Los Angeles--Long Beach (20,500), and Chicago (19,900). Corresponding employment in the remaining 18 areas ranged from about 14,000 in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco--Oakland, and Washington to 1,750 in Buffalo.

Nearly three-fifths each of the food service and other nonoffice workers were employed in hotels and motels with collective bargaining agreements covering a majority of such workers. The proportions, however, varied widely by area. For example, virtually all of the workers in Atlantic City were covered by labor-management agreements, but no establishment visited in Houston or Memphis had union agreements covering a majority of their workers. The Service Employees International Union and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, both AFL--CIO affiliates, were the major unions.

A comprehensive report on the survey--Industry Wage Survey: Hotels and Motels, July--September 1983 (BLS Bulletin 2227) may be purchased from any of the Bureau's regional sales offices or the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
COPYRIGHT 1985 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Schmitt, Donald G.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Jul 1, 1985
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