Waiters need a strong union to negotiate with restaurant owners for a realistic pay scale and other benefits. Diners should not pay for them.
Eating in a quality restaurant costs four or five times as much as cooking at home. The food itself isn’t expensive. It costs more because it is cooked for us and served. The bill includes those costs. Therefore, a tip or a service charge is redundant, asking diners to pay a second time for service costs that are already included in the price of their meal.
Instead of changing the name from tip to service charge, the diner should not pay either.
People, restaurants are businesses. They pay their employees by receiving money from customers. They can get that money through tips, by adding a service charge, or by working it into the cost of a meal, but ultimately it’s all coming from the same place. If you’d prefer that restaurants operate as charities for creative types in need of a day job, please, just come out and say so!
[Would it be petty to mention that the letter writer lives in Berkeley? Yes, it probably would!]