Amanda Bailey, a waitress at The Main Event in Plainview,...

Amanda Bailey, a waitress at The Main Event in Plainview, poses for Newsday with chicken wings in front of the some of the 50 televisions the sports bar has. (Oct. 12, 2009) Credit: Michael Nagle

Newsday's lack of understanding over the issue facing the catering industry ["Don't stiff catering servers," Editorial, May 13] only underscores the confusion resulting from the 2008 Court of Appeals ruling, which left even the New York State Department of Labor uncertain of its meaning.

The bill now in the Assembly, and passed by a bipartisan vote in the Senate, clarifies the department's view that services fees were never intended to cover gratuities or tips, and the bill seeks to protect caterers from retroactive liability.

We are not stiffing anybody. Servers in a catering hall, unlike waiters in a restaurant, are generally not paid with tip credits, but instead receive an hourly rate, usually well above the minimum wage -- ranging from $8 to $25 per hour. If service charges were distributed in addition, their average hourly wage could exceed $75.

We are one of the few industries that offer young people entry-level work, a fair wage and an opportunity to develop a work ethic and discipline.

Gennaro Tallarico, Jericho

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York Caterers Association.