This morning, Bloomberg news reported that the Department of Labor hid economic analysis from the public showing that their new proposed rule to make tips the property of owners would take billions of dollars out of workers’ pockets.
Saru Jayaraman, President of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, stated:
Bloomberg’s report confirms what we already knew: that this new rule would constitute legalized theft of restaurant workers’ hard earned tips by the National Restaurant Association and President Trump. The Administration’s unethical lack of disclosure of this information – which the public deserves to know – constitutes nothing more than outright deception of the American people.”
“The restaurant industry is the second largest and absolute fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, but is also the lowest paying, thanks to the lobbying prowess of the National Restaurant Association. The NRA’s greed has gone way too far – on top of lobbying for 80 years to keep the wage for tipped workers at a subminium wage of just $2.13 an hour, they have also tried to get away with keeping their workers’ tips. Tipped restaurant workers in the United States are mostly women who struggle to make ends meet and suffer from the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry in the United States because they must tolerate inappropriate customer behavior to feed their families in tips. Trump’s new rule, if passed would exacerbate sexual harassment as it would give employers extraordinary power over their workers’ tips, as is demonstrated by the information leaked today. The Economic Policy Institute estimates this rule would cost workers $5.8 billion in stolen tips.”
“Seven states require the restaurant industry to pay the full minimum wage to tipped workers rather than the subminimum wage, and have half the rate of sexual harassment as the women in forty three states who receive a much lower wage and must rely on customers to feed their families. In most of these states, there are also very strict prohibitions against employers taking any portion of their workers’ tips. We need One Fair Wage – the elimination of the lower wage for tipped workers – and strict prohibitions against employer tip theft. Governor Cuomo has moved to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers in New York – we encourage other states to do the same, and encoruage all people to call on the Department of Labor to withdraw this outrageous rule.
Public comment on the DOL rule can be made online here.