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Hand grasping at $100 bills
If you hold an event at a hotel and get a bill listing a service charge of around the percentage you would usually leave as a tip, it's not unreasonable to assume it's a tip, right? Not in San Antonio, where the service charge goes to management. And then workers don't get tipped because people assume that's what the service charge is for. Some workers even say they've been told by management to lie to customers who ask if the service charge is a tip.

Workers and UNITE HERE are fighting back, petitioning for a Tip Integrity Act; they collected more than 3,700 signatures in the city's hospitality district.

And more:

  • A California warehouse was cited over $1 million for wage theft:
    The warehouse required employees to punch in but provided only three time clocks for their workers, resulting in long lines of more than 100 employees. Workers who arrived to work on time but waited in line to punch in were given “warnings” for punching in late. This created a situation where employees were obliged to report to work earlier and earlier, time for which they were not compensated. When employees punched out for their meal period, they were also required to stand in long lines, which cut into their 30-minute lunch break and forced them to come back early to punch back in. The company would alter their time records to reflect that the employees had been allotted the full 30-minute lunch break.
  • A powerful NBA player agent is urging basketball players to dump the executive director of their union.
  • Bill Gates, "philanthropist," isn't just into terrible education policy, he's also an investor in waste management company Republic Services:
    According to the Teamsters union, which represents the employees of Republic Services, workers have been subject to lockouts for protesting against the destruction of already modest pensions, unpaid overtime, and illegally abandoning contracts agreed upon with the union. In 2012, Republic Services' practice of locking out protesting workers led to stoppages in at least 13 American cities.
  • This is not new, but it's new to me, and a great discussion of why one Fordham University professor won't let Teach for America recruit from his classes anymore:
    Teach for America had accepted only four of the nearly one hundred Fordham students who applied.  I become even angrier when I read in the New York Times that TFA had accepted forty-four of one hundred applicants from Yale that year.  Something was really wrong if an organization which wanted to serve low-income communities rejected every applicant from Fordham, students who came from those very communities, and accepted half of the applicants from an Ivy League school where very few of the students, even students of color, come from working-class or poor families.

    Since then, the percentage of Fordham students accepted into Teach for America has marginally increased, but the organization has done little to win my confidence that it is seriously committed to recruiting people willing to make a lifetime commitment to teaching and administering schools in high-poverty areas.

    Never, in its recruiting literature, has Teach for America described teaching as the most valuable professional choice that an idealistic, socially-conscious person can make.  Nor do they encourage the brightest students to make teaching their permanent career; indeed, the organization goes out of its way to make joining TFA seem a like a great pathway to success in other, higher-paying professions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Crooks! (5+ / 0-)

    Hyatt has labor issues elsewhere.

    I have stayed in Hyatts a lot.  I'll think twice now.

    If you support hotel workers check out this boycott list;

    http://hotelworkersrising.org/...

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:28:50 PM PST

  •  Guess this sort of thing is catching on in (7+ / 0-)

    the San Antonio area. Friend of mine told me not long ago that in the fast food joint where she works, they were warned that all of their tips belong to management because they make minimum wage or slightly above!

    Yes, some folks do occasionally get tips in fast food, esp by regular customers.

    They were warned they would be fired if they didn't turn in their tips.

    This is Texas, your great union-free work environment!

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

    by JayRaye on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:46:07 PM PST

    •  How's that legal? (4+ / 0-)

      As long as the drawer is right and someone gives you cash, how can management claim that?

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 03:47:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My guess is that it isn't. (7+ / 0-)

        It also isn't legal to force your employees to take a two hour break without pay in the middle of the shift, & yet they can't leave. Go over in the corner, sit down, shut up, and wait to be told to punch in again.

        Minimum wage, and yet the boss still has to rob them!

        I called a labor lawyer for them who says they have a case. But they are too worried about losing their jobs to pursue it.

        It's also illegal to tell employees that they can't discuss their wages (or any other conditions of labor) but they do that here in Texas also. I've even seen it in print in an employee handbook with threat of discipline for both parties of the conversation.

        Texas don't need no stinkin federal labor laws!

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

        by JayRaye on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 04:44:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a load of horseshit (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, lineatus, CA wildwoman

          Glad I live in NY

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 04:47:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I had to sign a contract (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye

          at my last job that said if I discussed wages/compensation with other employees then I could be fired.  Not sure that's legal but I needed the job at the time, so I signed.

          Only had to stay there a year to get enough experience to go work for the state government at 2x the pay with full benefits.  My boss complained that his tax dollars were going to waste, until I revealed that the agency I would work for isn't funded by taxpayer money.  Then he complained that I was poached away from him.

          Sorry dude, I'm not doing enterprise level IT for less than a barista at Starbucks with NO benefits and mandatory overtime/on-call that was never compensated for properly.  Screw that.

          "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

          by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:04:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is NOT legal!!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Silvia Nightshade

            But I am a worker also, and understand the necessity of having a job. Note: you cannot be held to an illegal contract.

            Laws are meaningless unless they are enforced.

            Here is what the NLRA says about your right to organize where you work (organizing includes discussing wage, hours, benefits with your fellow workers!):

            The NLRA also protects employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activities, with or without a union, which are usually group activities (two or more employees acting together) attempting to improve working conditions, such as wages and benefits. Some examples of such activities include:
            q
            two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their working conditions and pay;
            q
            one employee speaking to his/her employer on behalf of himself/herself and one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions;
            q

            two or more employees discussing pay or other work-related issues with each other.

            http://www.nuhhce.org/...

            What you are describing is similar to what used to be called a "yellow dog contract." Also illegal.

            Amazing how brazen they are getting to even put it in writing. They know the law is rarely enforced because working people are usually too desperate for a job to risk asking for enforcement.

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

            by JayRaye on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:59:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Legal or not, this is almost a taboo subject (0+ / 0-)

              In my experience, it's easier to get people to talk about their sex lives at work than what they get paid.  If it's done at all, it's done in whispers, with no hard numbers, between a couple of people who have established a trust relationship.  "I make around $$...." or "I make something over $50K..."

              Sure you can talk to your supervisor, team lead, manager... but you will only be doing it in terms of your own pay, in a vacuum, without knowing whether you're getting less because you're female, or over 50, or don't have those certifications that the managers decided they liked at the last leadership meeting...

              If this were not the case, women would almost certainly not need the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  The whole idea that someone would not know for DECADES that they were being underpaid due to their gender is entirely predicated on treating pay as a more unspeakable subject in the workplace than sex, religion or politics.

              How I wish there was a union for IT workers.  One with teeth.

              History should teach humility and prudence, but America doesn't seem to learn. I've never seen a virgin who loses her innocence so often. -- Gordon Wood

              by stormicats on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:06:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to say it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman

    but it makes you wonder about the "tip jar" at the car wash and other places. Maybe not all employers are assholes.

    •  Tipping is a rotten system. (5+ / 0-)

      Friend of mine's first job in the big city was hat checker for a famous restaurant. People would throw dollars into the bowl labeled TIPS that sat on the counter. Every penny went to Management. If somebody asked her whether she got the money, her orders were to lie.

      Still, I ask. I ask counter people, piano players, and especially delivery people.  Sometimes you can figure out the truth, and you can put the money directly into their hands.

    •  I worked for a small (0+ / 0-)

      sub shop two separate summers, and we had a tip jar.  The tips were split every shift between the two cooks who were working.  The owner didn't know about it, because he would have demanded the tips.  Our local manager was cool with it, she covered for us.  And the owner was an old guy who only ever drove by to collect deposits as spending money.

      "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

      by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:05:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding "service charge": true in many states (5+ / 0-)

    This is true a lot more than you realize. Cruise lines, hotels, restaurants, etc. often add a service charge but do not pay it out.

    Even in a state that requires you pay service charge out, what often happens is this:  a server in a restaurant works a private party event of say 50 people x $40 per head = $2,000, and a 20% service charge is added, making it $400.

    Now, the server is a "tipped position", so their initial tipped wage - minimum wage rate is $2.13 per hour. Let's say 4 servers work the event for 4 hours. Ultimately, they have to be paid the regular $7.25 minimum wage, so we have:

    16 hrs x $2.13 = $34.08 tipped wage paid
    16 hrs x $5.12 = $81.92 wages paid to bring them to the full $7.25 per hour.

    Now, the $81.92 comes out of the $400. In some states, it stops there, and management gets the rest.

    Even in states where the whole $400 has to be paid out, remember that the servers basic hourly wage is $116 and this can be covered by the $400, so really only $284 is paid as a tip, for a 14.2% tip.  Not bad, but still, don't think you're paying a 20% tip.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:51:24 PM PST

    •  It doesn't work like that in NY (3+ / 0-)

      At least not in my part of the state.  I made $15-20 and hour all told.

      I always wondered why people said waiters were poor.  If that's the way it works in other places, I can see.

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 03:50:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, NY has stringent laws on this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann

        Call it what you will - service charge, gratuity, etc. - NY requires that it is paid out in full to the staff. There was a case about 5-6 years ago that clarified this and a number of NY restaurants, banquet halls, etc. had to pay up.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:44:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would feel ripped off and deceived (6+ / 0-)

    as a customer also. It's obvious how the workers are being ripped off but the customers are too. I'd feel bad if I found out I had not been leaving a tip because I had been fooled by the management.

  •  Teach for America (4+ / 0-)

    has become the paid internship of the Ivy Leagues...and of course, most of these students do not stay and work in low income schools.

    •  Teach for America (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann

      pisses me off.  It's how rich white kids can think they did something good for one year and use it as a platform to go work in something that's NOT teaching.  It's the new version of volunteer work on college applications.  "Oh look how giving s/he is, they taught those poor kids in that bad neighborhood for a whole year!"

      "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

      by Silvia Nightshade on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:08:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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