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.