• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

Spring Donation Drive

CounterPunch is a lifeboat piggybank-icon of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Tips are for Servers Not CEOs

When we give someone a tip, we expect the money will go to the workers who provided us with service.

We might leave a little extra because someone went above and beyond for us. Or because we want that person to have a slightly easier time getting by.

Whatever the circumstance, we trust that the money will help the workers who served us.

But the National Restaurant Association — a group controlled by owners of major restaurant chains —has long been promoting the idea that business owners, not workers, should control the tips we leave.

If they have their way, the Department of Labor will soon let minimum wage employers confiscate all tips left by customers. Business owners would not have to disclose to patrons what happens to tips, and could simply pocket the tips themselves.

This would apply to anyone who receives tips — from the housekeeper who makes up your hotel room, to the valet who parks your car, to the assistant who pushes your wheelchair at the airport.

Overall, women represent two out of three tipped workers.

The NRA’s key leadership includes Olive Garden, IHOP and Applebee’s, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse. These companies already have an egregious track record of squeezing workers while inflating CEO pay. If the new rule is finalized, they could use tips to fuel even more stock buybacks and CEO pay hikes.

By doing these companies’ bidding, the Trump administration is poised to make life even harder for restaurant workers and their families. A recent study shows that more than half of hourly earnings for servers and bartenders come from tips.

Restaurant lobbyists claim that giving employers control over tips would let them redistribute tips from servers to non-tipped workers like dishwashers. But there’s nothing in the rule to require this. And even if they do redistribute, there’s a good chance employers would cut base wages to make up the difference.

With the rule change, employers would have a strong incentive to pay only the federal minimum of $7.25 and then claim ownership of all tips. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that changing the rule would transfer $5.8 billion from workers directly to employers, and 80 percent of that amount would come from the pockets of women who earn tips.

To be clear, this rule will hurt workers — and the Labor Department knows it. Revelations that senior political officials there tried to bury a damaging economic analysis of the proposal have led to an internal investigation.

Even with tips, servers and bartenders take home only $10.11 per hour. This is already far below what workers throughout the country need to make ends meet. These employees need more wage protections, not fewer.

And voters seem to agree.

Recent polling from the National Employment Law Project shows 83 percent of voters disapprove of the proposal to give employers control of worker tips, and most respondents say they would tip less often if the rules are changed.

This is an attempt by lobbyists to transfer a massive amount of wealth and power from consumers and workers to corporate restaurant chains and their private equity owners.

That’s backwards: Tips are for servers, not CEOs.

Irene Tung is a senior policy researcher with the National Employment Law Project.

Teófilo Reyes is a visiting scholar at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC-Berkeley, and research director with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

Distributed by OtherWords.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
Binoy Kampmark
The Christchurch Pledge and a Regulated Internet
David Rosen
Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work
Ralph Nader
Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark
Brett Haverstick
America’s Roadless Rules are Not Protecting Public Wildlands From Development
Alan Macleod
Purity Tests Can be a Good Thing
Binoy Kampmark
Modern Merchants of Death: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights
Kim C. Domenico
Anarchism & Reconciliation, Part II
Peter LaVenia
Game of Thrones and the Truth About Class (Spoiler Warning)
Manuel E. Yepe
The Options Trump Puts on the Table
Renee Parsons
The Pompeo/Bolton Tag Team
David Swanson
Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment
Cesar Chelala
Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Problems are Deeper than “Capitalism” (and “Socialism” Alone Can’t Solve Them)
Chris Zinda
Delegislating Wilderness
Robert Koehler
War’s Unanswered Questions
Robert P. Alvarez
Let Prison Inmates Vote
Barbara Nimri Aziz
A Novel We Can All Relate To
David Yearsley
Carmen’s Mother’s Day Lessons
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ziya Tong’s “The Reality Bubble”
Elliot Sperber
Pharaoh’s Dream
Elizabeth Keyes
Somewhere Beyond Corporate Media Yemenis Die
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail