Matlow’s minimum wage hypocrisy

Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow continues to aggressively push for the quick adoption of a $15—or higher—minimum wage for city workers, Amazon employees and basically anybody else who punches in, including high school soccer linesmen. But when it comes to his own business – which has made him a millionaire – reaching minimum wage does not appear to be a priority.

The City of Tallahassee didn’t wait on the state or federal minimum wage laws – it has already increased the minimum wage to $15/hour for all full-time employees, something Matlow pushed for as a part of this alleged support of low-income workers.

Pinned to Matlow’s Twitter page is a video virtue signaling his support for the working class. “Tell that to the waitress pulling an extra shift,” he says. By the way, in 2022, most people call them “servers,” not the sexist “waitress.”

But regardless, as recently as last month, Matlow’s restaurant advertised for front-of-house jobs starting as low as $13/hour (no tips are mentioned in the posting, as they are with other posted jobs). That’s 13 percent below the city’s minimum wage, even during this time of runaway inflation.

Matlow’s restaurants advertise other jobs that pay as low as $10/hour but include tips. Apparently Matlow is willing for his customers to push his employees’ pay over $15, but isn’t willing to do it himself.

This is all in stark contrast to Matlow’s net worth.

In the most recent filings with the City of Tallahassee, Matlow disclosed that he is worth a whopping $1.5 million. While he loves to attack well-to-do “insiders,” Matlow is worth more than the other four commissioners … COMBINED.

Commissioner Matlow doesn’t appear to have much shame about the below-minimum-wage pay at his restaurants. An op-ed piece, published by former Commissioner Gil Ziffer in the Tallahassee Democrat almost a year ago, found similar pay rates for Matlow employees. Apparently, nothing has changed.

So, let’s talk hypocrisy.

At a Tallahassee Town Hall event in April, Matlow stated that, while he was encouraged by the over 1,000 jobs that the Amazon fulfillment center would bring to the area, he remained focused on “[raising] the wages of people who live here.”

Amazon has very publicly shown support for raising Federal minimum wages by hiking its own starting wage to $15/hr. Unlike Matlow, Amazon puts its money where its mouth is.

Before the state minimum wage ballot initiative, Matlow praised the measure, saying: “Our business has adapted to changes over the years and this will be one more adaptation we make toward a more prosperous city.”

Seriously? When exactly can Gaines Street Pies workers expect this “adaptation” to happen?

Make no mistake, we are delighted Matlow has built a successful, lucrative business. That’s the American dream. But his preaching on the minimum wage is rank hypocrisy.

And the hypocrisy gets even worse. Just two years ago, Matlow was pushing for a more than doubling of city commissioners pay, from the current $39,000, all the way to $80,000.

Matlow’s “progressive man of the people” schtick just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny – he’s a millionaire who is happy to push for himself to get a 100 percent pay raise, but doesn’t even pay his own people the minimum wage he claims to want for others.

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