Trump’s Labor Department Ditches Data on Workers’ Tips

The Trump administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) is pushing through a rule that would allow restaurant owners to pocket billions of dollars of tips that customers leave for their servers as long as these workers are paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Study Scrubbed. That’s bad enough. But Trump’s DOL suppressed an internal study warning that restaurant workers could lose billions of dollars a year when the rule takes effect. That’s because, while the regulation supposedly allows restaurants to share servers’ tips with other workers, it doesn’t explicitly prohibit the owners from keeping the money themselves.

Data Cooked. Before scrubbing the study, Trump’s DOL tried to cook the data. Intent on scrapping an Obama-era rule prohibiting “tip pooling” and refusing to accept earlier projections of how much money is at stake, Trump’s DOL conducted a new economic analysis designed to produce rosier results. But, when the new analysis still showed restaurant owners would shortchange their employees, DOL buried it, too.

Keeping the Public Uninformed: In fact, the new rule will cost current tipped workers $5.8 billion a year, with women suffering $4.6 billion in losses, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute. But of course the Trump officials didn’t share these facts with the American people before the “comment period” on the rule ended yesterday (February 5).