Ever since I was of legal age to work, I have been a server at a restaurant. Day by day, I smile through customer complaints and am sometimes treated disrespectfully because I serve food. Everyday life gets more expensive, but server wages stay the same.

For the past 10 years, I have worked in numerous restaurants and bars for $2.13 an hour. Most customers think that because we are tipped, we make good money. Well, let me speak for all servers in Utah — we deserve better.

A study released in February 2012 by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and several national women’s organizations, states that servers experience three times the poverty rate of the American workforce and use food stamps at almost twice the rate of the general population.

There is a huge disagreement among economists, business leaders and labor activists regarding whether the tipped wage should be higher and whether tipped employees should receive a different wage than non-tipped workers. I believe Utah should increase the tipped wage, but in the meantime, Utahns should tip better.

Tessa Searle