Here’s a tip for restaurants: Pay a living wage | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
What if tipping went away and wages rose for restaurant workers?
What if tipping went away and wages rose for restaurant workers?
Published May 18

A living wage

Dining out: Few willing to serve | May 16

This article suggests that finding people to go back to work at restaurants is hard because they can make as much or more collecting unemployment. This is not the sole reason. Up until March 2020, many in the workforce considered and called it a “job.” Today those same people are looking for more of a career even if it means the same level of task. In the early stages of the pandemic, many owners released their loyal staff without necessarily having a longer-term plan. The fallout was a wave of people immediately without income, angry and scared.

After a time, people were able to receive a minor stipend through government checks and eventually unemployment. From my view, the pandemic offered the ability for big box companies to easily recruit prior restaurant labor with a bigger carrot, not simply with a larger hourly wage, but benefits and a long-term place to grow. The former restaurant employees began seeing they were qualified to have a career, as opposed to a job.

American restaurants for all of my lifetime have been able to pay a couple of dollars per hour and place the remaining burden of resemblance of a living wage on the customer through tipping. The restaurant industry, in looking at its practices in the same old way, has allowed smarter companies to eat their lunch. The European model requires no tips because the employee is paid a living wage. As with any company, cost increases will be passed on to the customer, and the customer will complain but pay. The customer is served by staffers with pride in their company, and this creates a win/win long-term view for everyone. Yes, the $2.00 cup of coffee is now $2.60, but best of all, not only is no tip necessary, the tipper won’t be judged because he cannot accurately calculate percentages.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

A tragic situation

Gaza airstrikes toll rises | May 17

I am a Jew in my 70s. When I was very young, I was horrified to learn of the atrocities committed by the Nazis against Jews and other minorities, just because of who they were. I also learned that Israel was created out of the British Protectorate in the Middle East to provide a safe haven for Jews, so that this would never happen again. Unfortunately, the Arab nations surrounding the new state swore to drive them into the sea. Since its inception, Israel has been at war to defend its right to exist.

Now, Israel is seen as the big bad guy and the Palestinians as the victims. It is not as simple as it seems, given the history. But there has to be a change in attitude on both sides in order for there to be any kind of lasting peace. The Palestinians deserve to live safely within Israel with the same rights as the Jewish population. And the Arab nations surrounding Israel, and the terrorists within their borders, have to stop using the Palestinians as pawns to drive world opinion. It seems unlikely that this will happen, making the situation even more tragic.

Susan Sumnick, Riverview

It’s academic

List of leaders for FSU now at 3 | May 17

So Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is not being considered for the position of president of Florida State University. The three people who are still in the running all have strong academic credentials and experience in academia. What a novel idea.

Ann Jamieson, St. Petersburg

A scholar shall lead them

List of leaders for FSU now at 3 | May 17

Having served on a number of academic search committees over my 40-plus year career, I have been following the reporting and commentary searching for the next president of Florida State with some interest. I conclude that great university presidents and other upper-level administrators should have developed expertise over an extensive career and have become subject matter experts in some aspect of business, sciences, fine arts, medicine, teaching, liberal arts, engineering, etc., but definitely not politics. Such subject matter experts can be advised by former experienced, senior members of political staffs or former elected politicians themselves particularly in state universities.

Such people of demonstrated substance are visionaries and can look beyond the dominant management by spreadsheet analysis, which seems so prevalent in academic leadership. They ask key questions such as “what are we positioned to do really well, how do we perform in certain key areas of expertise at the highest level, and exactly what do we want to be known for?” They can look to the future to see new academic clusters that have not been recognized or previously defined to meet the needs of the future. I strongly suggest that Amanda Goodall’s book, Socrates in the Boardroom, be required reading for candidates and members of search committees. After extensive research, she concluded that the top 100 universities in the world are led by top scholars and other individuals of real substance defined by what they have accomplished. For sure, this is not a coincidence.

Albert Hine, Seminole

Teen jobs for the summer

McDonald’s to boost average U.S. wages past $13 an hour | May 16

God closes a door, then opens a window. No doubt the dark cloud of this pandemic has negatively impacted our lives, but isn’t it time we look for that silver lining? Not all that long ago we bemoaned summers when our high schoolers couldn’t find summer jobs. Today an able-bodied teenager can’t swing a backpack without hitting an entry level job opportunity. Let’s give our youth some positive life and job experience.

Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg