Working Texas

Weekly Labor Wrap-Up / Dec. 8 2017

  • Tips Could Become Property of Employers Under Proposed Trump Administration Rule

  • It's Official: NLRB Will No Longer Automatically Enforce Obama-Era Precedents

  • AFGE Protests Under-Staffing at Kerrville VA Hospital

  • AP: Charter Schools Foment Segregation

  • AFL-CIO VP Tefere Gebre Accepts Prestigious Peace Prize

  • Texas Protest Against Tax Bill Makes MSNBC


Tips Could Become Property of Employers Under Proposed Trump Administration Rule

The Trump Labor Department may be about to take a big bite out of the "Fight for 15."

The Economic Policy Institute reports the threat comes in the form of a proposed rule that could allow employers to confiscate tips so long as tipped employees are making at least the minimum wage.

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The proposed rule would give a renewed blessing to "tip pooling." Under that practice, if you tip, say, a restaurant server, the tip essentially goes into a giant jar for sharing with other non-tipped employees in the restaurant. EPI says, however, the rule does not appear to require employers to distribute pooled tips to employees at all.

 We have seen tipped-worker issues in recent contexts. A bill by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and others seeking to declare tips the property of the person being tipped cleared a House committee but did not reach the floor earlier this year. In Las Vegas, unions have fought, with mixed success, against efforts to deal management in on tips. For example, dealers at Blackjack tables have been asked to surrender a portion of their tips to pit bosses, who patrol tables and are considered part of management.

Federal and state laws allow restaurant owners to pay servers as little as $2.13 an hour out of their own pocket. In Texas, tips are supposed to complement the $2.13 and yield a wage of at least $7.25 an hour; if they do not, the employer is supposed to make up the difference, a requirement we hear is often ignored in actual practice.

The trade-off for this incredible bargain for employers has been that servers get to keep their tips. If servers do well, they have a prospect of making a decent, if not always consistent, income. The proposed rule discussed by EPI would give servers the worst of each side of the trade-off: abysmally low employer responsibility for their livelihoods and, potentially all benefits to the employer when the server does a good job.

One would think employers know that confiscating all tips would leave minimal incentive for working people to provide the best service they can. But in 2017, as in 1917, basic decency in the employment relationship is lacking in too many quarters. This proposed rule is outrageously unfair to working people. 

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Or drop a comment to the Dept. of Labor on how you feel about this rule change.

The rule is now in a 30-day comment period. That gives you an opportunity to write in and OPPOSE the rule.

Tell the government that tips should be the property of the person who earns them and that leaving them to the discretion of employers deceives customers and cheats working people.

It's Official: NLRB Will No Longer Automatically Enforce Obama-Era Precedents

 The Trump National Labor Relations Board has made explicit what was implicit in the result of the 2016 elections: Worker rights stemming from the Obama White House are now inoperative.

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Huffington Post reports the General Counsel of the Labor Department has made it clear to NLRB employees across the nation that they may not automatically rely on Obama-era precedents that help working people.

This is a terrible development for working people who want to speak up together on the job.  But it is the fruit of the Electoral College. President Trump is carrying out precisely what candidate Trump indicated he would do on the labor front.

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AFGE Protests Under-Staffing at Kerrville VA Hospital

Zeke MacCormack of the San Antonio Express-News reports in detail on the ongoing benign neglect of the Veterans Administration hospital in Kerrville, a long-running story that is taking on new dimensions in the Trump presidency.

The "benign" part is the palaver you hear from most any politician about how veterans are everything to our nation. Absolutely. Veterans deserve excellent health care, especially when they face conditions that are related to their service. But the truth is that Washington, D.C. looks the other way when problems like the ones raised for decades by our Brothers and Sisters in the American Federation of Government Employees come to the fore.

This fine article localizing a national action by AFGE quotes, among others, Texas AFL-CIO Executive Board member Cheryl Eliano. 

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AP: Charter Schools Foment Segregation

More and more, the "laboratories" of charter schools have re-discovered more old problems than best practices. Charter schools, on average, do not perform as well as traditional neighborhood public schools academically in the first place. (That is especially true when one factors in the greater resources that some charter schools enjoy.)

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Now we are finding out that one of the old problems that charter schools have re-discovered is segregation. Hat tip to Texas AFT for passing along this item from AP.

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AFL-CIO VP Tefere Gebre Accepts Prestigious Peace Prize

The Texas AFL-CIO congratulates AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre on receiving the Roving Ambassador for Peace price from the World Peace Prize Awarding Council.

 Father Sean McManus, president of the Irish National Caucus and chief judge of the WPPAC, spoke about why Gebre was chosen for the award:

I have the honor of being the Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (headquartered in Seoul, South Korea) and was pleased to be able to propose Tefere Gebre on the basis that if one works in solidarity for justice for working men and women, one is, indeed, working for peace. I was delighted that our 14-member panel of international and interfaith judges unanimously agreed. We strongly believe that the labor movement should be recognized as powerfully contributing to world peace-based on solidarity, equality and justice for all.
Ethiopian-born Tefere became the first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO. That is a significant, compelling narrative and a timely metaphor for today's America and for today's world-making him a most worthy recipient of the 2017 World Peace Prize "Roving Ambassador for Peace."

Texas Protest Against Tax Bill Makes MSNBC

This MSNBC  video report on national protests around the job-killing tax bill, which is entering a House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences in the two versions of the bill, takes very quick note of the protest in Denton at around the 1:50 mark. 

 Yay Texas!

Watch the Video

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Today's Fair Shots - November 7, 2017

1-Union Plumber May Have Headed Off an Even Worse Tragedy
2-Job-Killing Tax Cut Bill Supporters Aim to Redefine 'Middle Class' Upward to $450,000 a Year Cutoff
3-Tomorrow Is Election Day. Really. Vote!
4-AFGE Rally to Call for Filling Veterans Affairs Department Vacancies

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Today's Fair Shots - November 3, 2017

1-IBEW Has Special Place in Elation Over Astros Victory
2-Warren: Janus Case Has Developed an Ethical Conflict
3-AFL-CIO: Tax Cut Bill Is Job-Killer, Gift to Wealthy
4-Golf Tournament a Success; More to Come

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Today's Fair Shots - October 10, 2017

1-Dally Willis's Three Rules of Lobbying: Be Nice, Be Nice and Be Nice

2-EPI: Tax Cuts for Wealthy Aren't Needed and Don't Enter Economy Readily

3-Coastal Bend CLC Joins in Wage Theft Protest

4-White House Announces Atrocious Terms for DREAMer Deal

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Today's Fair Shots - October 3rd, 2017

1-Mayhem in Las Vegas Was Senseless, Shocking

2-Teamsters Set Record Straight on Accusations That Post-Hurricane Deliveries in Puerto Rico Have Been Delayed

3-Supreme Court Appears Closely Split in Workplace Arbitration Case

4-Study: More Than Half of Non-Union Private Sector Workers Have Mandatory Arbitration Procedures for Workplace Claims

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Today's Fair Shots - September 29th, 2017

1-No, Waiving Jones Act Won't Work; It Has Nothing to Do With Getting Goods Into the Hands of Puerto Ricans After Hurricane Maria

2-Bipartisan Congressional Statement Acknowledges Puerto Rico Has Plenty of Supplies on Docks, But Infrastructure Is Broken

3-U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Another Case That Could Decimate Public Employee Unions

4-Public Employee Unions Blast Janus Case as Blatant Politics

5-Louis-Dreyfus Announces She Has Breast Cancer, Thanks Union for Coverage

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Today's Fair Shots - September 26, 2017

1-We Stand in Solidarity With the Football Players' Union on Free Speech Rights, Safety

2-Popovich: 'People Have to Be Made to Feel Uncomfortable'

3-Health Care Repeal Bill Floundering; Throw It an Anchor

4-Portions of 'Show Me Your Papers' Immigration Bill Allowed to Take Effect

5-Austin City Council Member Wants to Rename Street in Honor of Azie Taylor Morton

6-Khalil on Union Hurricane Relief: 'We Are All in This Together'

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Today's Fair Shots - September 21, 2017

1. Kimmel: Any 'Kimmel Test' on Health Coverage Must Apply to Others Besides His Own Son

2.Texas Hurricane Victims Will No Longer Have to Be in Home County to Get Food-Stamp Benefit

3. More Good News on Harvey Recovery: Deadline for Applying for Disaster Unemployment Insurance Extended More Than a Month

4. Daily E-Mail Won't Publish Tomorrow and Friday

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Today's Fair Shots - August 23, 2017

1-Investment Expectations Game Threatens to Dampen Pensions for State Employees

2-Kentucky Union Leader Makes Connection Between 'Right to Work' Laws and Racism

3-IAM Strike, in Large Part, Is About Advocacy for Future Workers

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Today's Fair Shots - August 22, 2017

1-Will NAFTA II Eclipse the First NAFTA?

2-Eclipse Secrecy: Sign Petition Calling for Transparent NAFTA

3-Overtime Pay for Secret Service Agents Is Eclipsed

4-On Eclipse Day, IAM Launches Strike Against Wyman-Gordon in Houston

 

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Today's Fair Shots - August 17, 2017

1-John Patrick: 'Time to Pass the Baton'

2-Abbott Doesn't Rule Out Another Special Session

3-Defeat of SB 7 the Product of Thousands of Working People Making Voices Heard

4-Education Package Has Some Decent Features, But Overall Is a Minor Step With a Bad Precedent

5-Trump Dissolves Two Manufacturing Councils After Cascade of Resignations; Trumka: It Became Clear Promise of Councils Was Broken

6-Take Note: It's Still Possible to Buy a U.S.-Made - Yea, a Texas-Made - Baseball Glove

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Today's Fair Shots - August 16, 2017

1-The Legislature Ends the Special Session on a Mixed Note

2-Disgrace the Nation: Trump Regresses on Charlottesville, Draws Praise From David Duke

3-Trumka Quits Presidential Council on Manufacturing

4-Two Texas Congressional Districts Must Be Redrawn, Federal Judges Rule, Finding Discriminatory Intent

5-Texas Leading Attack on 'Dreamers' on 5th Anniversary of DACA; Protest at Paxton's Office Leads to Arrests

6-Labor Day Schedule of Central Labor Council Events

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Today's Fair Shots - August 15, 2017

1-House Dramatically Rejects Payroll Dues Deduction Amendment

2-Bill to Artificially Cap Spending by Local Governments Pronounced Dead

3-Texas Building & Construction Trades Council Elects Officers

4-Following Events in Charlottesville, Texas A&M Cancels White Supremacist Rally Over Safety Concerns 

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Today's Fair Shots - August 14, 2017

1-John Patrick: Labor Movement Will Fight Racism, Anti-Semitism, Other Forms of Hatred at Every Turn

2-Trumka Condemns 'Worst Kind of Evil in Our World'

3-Cummings: 'We Will Not Stand for It'

4-'White Lives Matter' Rally Set for Texas A&M

5-Times Editorial: Nissan Election Inevitably Connected to Low-Wage Strategy in South 

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Today's Fair Shots - August 8th, 2017

1-UAW Lost an Election in Mississippi, But Showcased Brave Union Advocates

2-Nissan Worker: 'It Ain't Over Yet'

3-Dan Patrick's Amazing Admission: Problem With Some Cities Is They Are Run by Democrats

4-Forbes: Amazon Wages Don't Justify Millions in Incentives for Warehouses

5-Labor Department Grants Available to Help Women Get Apprenticeships

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Today's Fair Shots - August 2, 2017

1-Police, Firefighters, EMS and Even Charities Are in Sights of Promoters of SB 7

2-ULLCO Endorses Bills Aimed at High Rate of Maternal Mortality in Texas

3-Texas House Uses Rainy Day Fund to Advance Bills Helping Retired Teachers

4-Nissan Unloads Against UAW in Momentous Attempt to Organize Mississippi Factory

5-York: Corporate Culture at Southwest Airlines Has Changed for the Worse

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Today's Fair Shots - August 1, 2017

1-Unions Help African-American Women Begin to Close Pay Gap

2-Near Seattle, $15 an Hour Minimum Wage and Boom in Hotels Co-Exist

3-Bob Martinez Jr.: Boeing Moves to Export Work Threatens American Aerospace Industry

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Today's Fair Shots - July 27th, 2017

1-Let's Hope for Strike Three on Health Care Reform in U.S. Senate

2-Payroll Deduction Bill Moves Out of Senate, But Takes on Significant Damage

3-Texas AFT Helps Deliver Dose of Reality to Teacher Pay Bill

4-ULLCO Opposes Chunk of Special Session Agenda

5-Trump White House Messing With Overtime Rule; Most Salaried Workers Still Obligated to Work 'Overtime' for Free