Democrats Push Back Against Trump Plan That Could Allow Restaurants To Pocket Servers' Tips

Democrats Push Back Against Trump Plan That Could Allow Restaurants To Pocket Servers' Tips
User Avatar
Updated 5 months ago

On October 24, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offered up a proposal that would roll back a 2011 ruling that prevents employers from forcing tipped employees like waiters and bartenders (who often earn way below standard minimum wage) to share their earnings with non-tipped workers, such as cooks and dishwashers. In other words, even though many servers are paid as little as $2.13 an hour, restaurant owners could take away their tips and give them to the kitchen staff. Instead of restaurants paying a decent working wage, they could make employees supplement other employees' earnings as an enticement not to quit.  

Twenty-four senators, including Bernie Sanders (VT), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Cory Booker (NJ),  signed a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

You can read the letter here.

In 2015 the food and beverage industry spent nearly $33 million lobbying politicians. It would make sense that they have a vested interest in managing how servers divide their tips. As the new law is written under Donald Trump's administrative watch, restaurant owners wouldn't necessarily have to share the tips with anyone. They could simply keep the money as long as they pay the waiters minimum wage.

Taking a server's tips to supplement a chef's wages because the owner is too cheap to dig a little deeper into profits is a horrible injustice.

The restaurant industry is a $799 billion business and the average server earns $20,000 a year.

People are livid at this overreach of power:

Senator Bernie Sanders, whose platform included raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, weighed in with this video:

Many agreed that tipping should be a bonus and not a way for customers to pay wages:

Is it a server's obligation to live in poverty so a restaurant owner can pursue their dream? If they can't afford employees' wages, they need a new business plan. The failure of a restaurant to turn a profit is not the servers' problem to solve.

Tipping began when hospitality businesses "hired" newly freed slaves for nothing but the privilege of working for whatever money customers tossed their way in the form of tips.

So it's no wonder the practice hasn't caught on in other parts of the world:

 New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in some thoughts:

As did Wisconsin's Randy Bryce, who is currently challenging Paul Ryan for his seat in the house:

Here here, Nancy! These boots may just need to walk on out of here.