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:
The #GOP scumbags will do anything to fuck over the working people of this country. Giving owners a way to pocket tips is a disgusting abuse of GOV power This must not happen Democrats Rally Against Trump's Plan To Let Restaurants Appropriate Workers' Tips https://t.co/gp53fJMvn8— YoDudeMan (@YoDudeMan) February 7, 2018
Democrats rally against Trump's plan to let restaurants appropriate workers' tips @HuffPostPol GOP continue to steal money from those who need it the most. Not one thing tRump, GOP has done helps 99% of Americans. Class division continues to widen thanks to GOP.— ken spurbeck (@KenSpurbeck) February 7, 2018
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:
I don’t support tipping- employers should have to pay a livable wage!— Cyndi👁 (@tedscyn) February 6, 2018
Tipping should be something optional for the good service not a way to complete their paycheck.— Storymancer (@jocoso2218) February 7, 2018
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.
Just another way to boost company profits at the expense of the workers.— Misty Fonseca (@misty_fonseca) February 6, 2018
If the owner is going to steal your tip, it's not a gratuity.— Virginia Dark (@virginia_dark) February 6, 2018
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:
In Italy there is no tipping ! the service is great an d the workers are paid a living wage !— dorian allworthy (@AllworthyDorian) February 6, 2018
The news about Trump gets worse every day. So glad I live in Oz where a lot of the things Bernie is fighting for are taken for granted. And no. Australia is not a communist country.— Lev Szeps (@LevSzeps) February 6, 2018
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in some thoughts:
Low-wage workers rely on tips as major source of income, and work extremely hard for them. This new plan gives employers the license to take money—billions of dollars worth—straight out of the pockets of the people who need it most. https://t.co/0YAOJjdxD5— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 6, 2018
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.