Remember the proposed Trump administration rule allowing employers to pool and then steal their employees’ tips? Remember how the Department of Labor didn’t release any analyses of exactly how much money employers would pinch from the workers?
Well, about that. Bloomberg reports that the Department of Labor did in fact complete a study on how much money employers would steal from their workers, but senior officials ordered staff not to include it in the final proposal because it happened to show that “workers could lose billions of dollars in tips as a result of the proposal.” (A week after the study-less proposal was released, the Economic Policy Institute released its own study showing that employers would pocket $5.8 billion of workers’ tips.) According to Bloomberg, the department leadership was “uncomfortable” with everyone knowing exactly how fucked this proposal is:
Although later calculations showed progressively reduced tip losses, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and his team are said to have still been uncomfortable with including the data in the proposal. The officials disagreed with assumptions in the analysis that employers would retain their employees’ gratuities, rather than redistribute the money to other hourly workers. They wound up receiving approval from the White House to publish a proposal Dec. 5 that removed the economic transfer data altogether, the sources said.
They disagreed with the ‘assumption’ that employers would nick their workers’ tips, which fits with my ‘assumption’ that no one in DOL leadership has ever worked in a tipped service job, or ever met anyone who does, or even actually looked a waiter in the eye.
The White House Office of Management and Budget, headed by Dickensian villain Mick Mulvaney, was also privy to the data before it was scrapped.
The DOL told Bloomberg that “the department asked the public to comment with suggestions about how to quantify the rule’s impact as part of the proposal,” and don’t worry, “the Department intends to publish an informed cost benefit analysis as part of any final rule”—after the point at which the public can do anything about it.
You’ll be just shocked to hear that Angelo Amador, the senior president of the National Restaurant Association, which loves and wants to kiss this despicable rule, thinks it’s just fine to not include relevant economic analysis, telling Bloomberg: “I do not see how an economic analysis has an impact either way on something that they don’t have the authority to do.” This is very revealing: It is an attack on the authority of the Labor Department to regulate working conditions, not an attempt to challenge analysis. It doesn’t matter what your stupid ‘facts’ are.
Bloomberg has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the data. I am sure the DOL will be extremely forthcoming and responsive to this request.