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

By Jonna Ivin-Patton

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.