The Department of Labor Buried Evidence Showing It’s Set to Steal Billions in Workers’ Wages

Talk Poverty – by Rebecca Vallas

Last week, President Trump’s Department of Labor (DOL) hid an internal analysis that showed that its so-called tip-pooling rule would allow employers to pocket billions in workers’ tips. They claimed that they were “unable to quantify” the rule’s effects. But we now know that they did, in fact, conduct an analysis—they just didn’t want the American public to see the result, so they buried it.

I discussed what happened and what this policy is all about with Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and former chief economist at the Department of Labor under President Obama.  

Rebecca Vallas: Heidi, what is this policy that the Trump administration is advancing and what are they hiding?

Heidi Shierholz: In December, the Trump administration released a proposed rule to try to make it legal for employers to take workers’ tips. There were regulations on the books from 2011—it was a long-standing practice at DOL that tips cannot be taken by employers. But the Trump administration is trying to rescind those regulations, and it’s really bad for workers.

But now the Department of Labor is bending over backwards to try to make it seem like it’s not terrible for workers. For instance, they talk about how theoretically employers who take tips could share some of those tips with the back of the house workers or other untipped workers. But there is nothing in this rule that says they are required to do so. So, what’s going to happen is employers will end up just pocketing a lot of those tips themselves.

The controversy that broke is that the DOL claimed that they could not do a quantitative analysis of how much in wages and tips would be transferred from workers to employers as a result of this rule. But what was revealed today is that that was all untrue. They actually did the analysis, and it showed billions of dollars being transferred from workers to employers. They actually took it to the Secretary of Labor who said something to the effect of, “Okay, we can’t publish something that shows this because this will make us look terrible. Take this back to the drawing board and see if you can bring me back smaller numbers.” They did that, but they never got it down as small as was comfortable for Secretary Acosta, so they just got approval from the White House to remove the analysis entirely. So this proposal was released without any quantitative economic analysis about the impact the proposed rule would have on workers, even though they are legally required to quantify the economic impact to the extent possible.

Read the rest here:

5 thoughts on “The Department of Labor Buried Evidence Showing It’s Set to Steal Billions in Workers’ Wages

  1. Whenever I go to a restaurant I see waitresses working their ass off all day long, and I know they’re getting paid dirt for it. 15% was a standard tip for decades, but in the last 30 years, the waitress’s cost of living has doubled, and the price of a meal has barely moved. A decent tip these days should be in the 30% – 40% range.

    That the government should try to get their dirty, thieving paws into their pittance of a salary is nothing more than a shameless petty theft on a wholesale basis. I can’t believe these tightwads want to steal waitresses’ salaries now too, but I guess they’re in the business of grabbing whatever they can.

    If you’re a waitress, and a politician comes into your restaurant, please remember to piss on his dinner.

  2. First job I ever had was washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant. Didn’t last.

    I could never work any other aspect… cooking, or especially serving the public. Can’t abide kowtowing to stupid sheeple.That aside, this is unmitigated theft, nothing less!

  3. And another thing (I was actually a waitress once while attending college)–is any waitress dumb enough to report tips on their 1040s?

    I didn’t think so! Which I think the idiots at the IRS finally figured out, so this “revelation” may have sparked a notion in the govt. DOL or whatever to pull this crap in wait staff!

    Or are they just setting up restaurant owners for the advent of robot waitresses and waiters?

    If I had the know-how to take out every damned robot out there…or if I had the gumption to pray for a massive EMP attack…. So, go ahead, Kurzweil, “enhance” yourself!

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