Tip-pooling could drain pockets

Randi Dofat

Server’s tips could soon be taken and distributed at the manager’s discretion amongst employees after Donald Trump’s announcement on the legalization of tip-pooling Dec. 5, 2017.

This currently pending rule would give servers the full minimum wage of $7.25 instead of the current rate of $2.13. However, the new change would allow employers to keep the tips the servers earn or distribute them between the employees of their choosing. This is aimed to include other employees such as dishwashers, bussers and others in receiving tips.

“It’s ridiculously stupid,” said Chelsie Gilner, a sophomore and waitress at Old Chicago. “People in the food industry are already poorly compensated. The tips I am left reflect how well I did my job and I should be able to keep that. If this tip-pooling becomes a reality, my take home will decrease exponentially. I have no other source of income and my tips are paying for my college.”

Those against the rule have concerns that it will create a lack of transparency and a decrease in income for an industry that is heavily reliant on tips. However, citizens who support this rule believe that it will diminish the unequal pay between cooks and servers, according to Andrea Strong, a writer for the Food Network.

The Trump Administration tip-pooling act would repeal Obama’s original administration rule in 2011 that allowed servers to keep their tips instead of being forced to split them with non-tipped employees, according to Dan Wiessner, an Albany correspondent at Reuters Legal.

“Right now, I tip out the bar and the cooks a percentage of my sales,” said Michaela Minae, a sophomore at Johnson County Community College and a waitress for The Other Place. “However, a percentage of the liquor I sell dictates how much I tip them out and same with food for the kitchen. If you take away tips, then it takes away the incentive to work harder and work the busier shifts.”

The Labor Department opened up the proposal for a public comment period, and recently just closed that forum. The multiple comments, both for and against the bill, will be used by officials to rework the rule or leave it as written. As tipped employees anxiously await the decision, congressional Democrats have joined with worker advocacy groups in campaigning against the rule. Regardless, it could potentially impact the lives of thousands of hard working employees.