Voice of the Restaurant Industry
How much does a waiter deserve to be paid? $10.00 an hour? $15.00 an hour? More?
The truth of the matter is is doesn't matter. Restaurant owners are refusing to hire waiters unless they agree to work for the lowest wages paid any workers in this country. Waiters are accepting these low paying jobs for one reason, and one reason alone. They want the opportunity to receive tips from the public. The public doesn't tip everyone in this country. If you want a job where you can expect to receive tips, you have to agree to work for sub-minimum, or very low, wages or you won't get the job.
The question that remains is, how can employers legally extort low wages out of their employees for a chance to receive tips? It's like they are forcing their waiters to pay for the job. What's the difference if a waiter pays a restaurant owner $5,000 up front for a waiter job or whether the waiter agrees to work for lower wages? In the end the restaurant owner is going to help himself to a portion of the tips his employees are receiving from the public. While most customers would agree that their tips are not intended for business owners, business owners don't give a damn who customers are intending to benefit. Business owners have figured out a way to steal the customer's tip. They refuse to hire waiters unless they agree to work for next to nothing in hourly wages. If these busienss owners where to ask for the money up front, it would be considered extortion.
Many employees are being paid much lower wages than they would normally be paid if Americans didn't tip. It's kind of sad to think that the good will of our public is actually hurting those who they are attempting to help out, but that's the truth of the matter. Business owners have figured out that they can benfit themselves to the customer's tip by extorting low wages out of those applying for positions which typically receive tips.
As if this isnt enough, restaurants have now figured out another way to extort even more tips out of their employees. It's called tip pooling. If an employer requires tip pooling, he can then share his waiter's tips with others like busboys, bartenders, hostesses, cooks and dishwashers. Why extort low wages out of only your waiters when you can force your waiters to share their tips with other workers? Once busboys, bartenders, hostesses, cooks and dishwashers start getting tips, the business can start extorting low wages out of these other types of workers too.
In a country founded on freedom, liberty and property rights, apparently not all of us qualify for such rights.
The tips you are presenting waiters in the service industry are being systematically stolen by greedy business owners. Employer required tip pooling must be stopped. When employers require the pooling of tips what they are requiring is that waiters give over their tips to their employers. While I have no problem with waiters voluntarily sharing a portion of their tips with other workers who actually aid them in serving the customer, business owners are using the good will of the public to enrich themselves.
This situation is going to get much worse before it gets better. The IRS has been decieved into the notion that if employers are prohibited from pooling their workers tips, employees will not pay the taxes on their tips. Again we are talking extortion. In this case, restaurant owners are extorting the IRS. If the IRS doesn't put pressure on the U.S. Department of Labor to turn a blind eye to the illegal practice of employer required tip pooling, restaurants will discontinue declaring their worker's tip income.
Think about it. Restaurants want to steal the customer's tip. The IRS wants workers to report their tip income. If employers can't require tip pooling, employers can't steal their worker's tips. If restaurants can't steal their worker's tips then they are going to make sure that their workes don't report their tip income.
The IRS has cut a deal with restaurant owners. If restaurants will report their employee's tip income, the IRS will make sure that the U.S. Department of Labor doesn't enforce federal laws which, when properly interpreted, prohibits employer required tip pooling. This way, the IRS gets what they want, taxes on tips, and restaurant owners get what they want, a way to steal their worker's tips.
Why else do you think the U.S. Department of Labor has done nothing for over 40 years to stop employers from blatantly stealing their worker's tips? Tip stealing by employers has gotten worse and worse with no relief in sight. I just wish the IRS could see through this scam. If things continue, we won't have any tips to report. By the time the restaurants are done cooking the books there will be no income to report.