Workers' tips threatened

Columnist Kaitlyn Haas 

Columnist Kaitlyn Haas 

Tips waiters receive are a monetary reward they get for a job well done. It’s one of the few perks of being a waiter or waitress, and an incentive for waitstaff employees to be patient and attentive to your needs, no matter how particular they are, while dining. However, the Trump Administration is at it again, and is now working with the Department of Labor to reform tip-pooling laws.

The Department of Labor intends to rescind an Obama-era rule restricting restaurant owners from the tip pool. This means restaurant owners can take tips from waitstaff and redistribute the money to workers throughout the restaurant how they see fit, including themselves, according to the National Law Review.

The Labor Department sent their first version of the rule to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Oct. 24 and is now pending review, according to CBS. Speaking from experience, being a part of a waitstaff is not easy. It’s a very hectic and fast paced environment to be in, where patrons are expecting you to meet their every need in a timely manner. 

The tips that are given to the waitstaff are what makes them work so hard; every drink or course they deliver on time, every smile, every laugh at corny jokes such as saying “I didn’t like it at all” while handing over an empty plate is all for the tips. It might sound shallow, but it is the reality.

CBS News conducted an interview with Patricia Smith, senior counsel at the National Employment Law Project and former Obama administration solicitor of labor on the topic. “This is an issue about income inequality. Maybe workers were making $15 an hour after tips, now they could just make $7.25,” Smith said. “Given the history, that there are some employers that steal tips already. This is a way of doing what they have been doing, but it becomes legal.” Changing this law will hurt waiters and waitresses around America.

If this law goes through, waiters and waitress might walk out and switch jobs, which will hurt the dining and restaurant industries. As Smith said, employers are already stealing tips from their waitstaff, and this will just make it worse. 

The Economic Policy Institute estimated waitstaff employees lost more than $50 billion a year in wage theft in 2014. The wage theft ranges from failing to pay for overtime to skimming tips that should go to tipped workers.

The real question is why? Why does President Donald Trump feel that waitstaff employees should not receive 100 percent of their tips? They are the ones who worked for it, so they should be the ones to keep it. 

This law reform will change the restaurant business entirely. Now, when you give a tip to your waiter or waitress you know exactly who is going to get that tip; but if things change that tip could end up in someone’s pocket that did not wait on you or do anything specifically for you. The law is unfair and will cause a lot of unnecessary hurt to the already struggling individuals and families that work in the restaurant industry.