Brown fights proposed tipping rule


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Cleveland, says a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor is unfair for workers who live on tips.

The proposed rule is about encouraging tip pooling, which would spread tips to multiple workers. But Brown says the rule would allow employers to keep workers’ tips if they chose and does not require them to be shared with workers.

Brown hosted a conference call Wednesday with local waitress Cristal Hale of Hubbard.

“I do my job and do my job very, very well and make my tips accordingly, and then for someone to just take them is wrong,” Hale said on the call. “I need my tips. Without them, I can’t support my family.”

Under the proposed rule, employers could keep the tips that workers earn as long as all workers are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

“To have to take her tip money and give it to people in the kitchen is wage theft,” Brown said. “It’s an assault on labor rights.”

Earlier this month, a report by Bloomberg Law indicated the Department of Labor tossed out an unfavorable review of the rule, after the analysis revealed it would actually cause workers to lose out on billions of dollars. After the report came out, Brown and 23 Senate colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta slamming the department’s decision to conceal evidence from the public and force a regulation taking money out of the pockets of workers.

“Americans are working harder and longer than ever before with less to show for it,” Brown said. “They shouldn’t be forced to work for less just because they work for tips.”

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