A last-minute Trump administration rule could lower restaurant workers’ wages by $700 million a year

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Critics of the new rule say it could severely decrease servers’ incomes by making them do more work for fewer tips. Less than 30 days before Trump is due to leave office, his Labor Department has imposed a rule that may significantly affect the wages of restaurant workers. By one estimate, it may collectively cost tipped workers more than $700 million a year. Read Full Story

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David Chang and other chefs say now is the time to fix the restaurant industry’s long-standing inequities

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Their “Safe and Just Reopening” plan calls for eliminating the tipped minimum wage, pooling tips, and tax relief for the restaurant business. If restaurants have struggled during the pandemic, restaurant workers are struggling even more, in part because their economic situation was already precarious before the outbreak. The federal subminimum wage for tipped workers is still the same as it was nearly 30 years ago: $2.13 an hour. Now, as many restaurants reopen and workers return, some restaurant owners are arguing that the industry needs to fundamentally change. Read Full Story

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‘Maskual harassment,’ angry customers, and no tips: The life of restaurant workers during COVID-19

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A new report on the restaurant industry in the pandemic details sexual comments, poor safety protocols, and cratering wages. Workers and advocates agree on the solution: raising the minimum wage. When Natasha, an employee at a neighborhood bar in Midtown Manhattan, takes customers’ temperatures at the door or politely asks them to pull up masks, she says it’s more common for them to aggressively push back than to comply. When she asked one guest to put on a mask, he told her he was going to wait outside the bar until she’d closed up, and then kill her. At that point, Natasha knew she wouldn’t receive a tip—and also feared for her life. Read Full Story

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Third-party vs. In-house Delivery: A Guide to Informed Choice

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Posted by MiriamEllis   Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker Before all else, gratitude to every delivery person, whether in-house or third party, doing the essential work of keeping households safer and supplied in these times. I’m dedicating today’s column to the manager of a nearby Sprouts grocery store who personally drove my order to my door when an Instacart driver just couldn’t get the job done. If your business or clients are weighing whether to fulfill delivery in-house or partner with a third party, my small experience is an apt footnote to the huge, emergent debate over last-mile fulfillment options. I’d searched all over town for scarce potatoes, finally arranging by phone with the local Sprouts market to hold their last two bags for me one morning, and texting the Instacart driver about where the spuds were being held. Next: For whatever reason, the driver chose not to retrieve them, …

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Third-party vs. In-house Delivery: A Guide to Informed Choice

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Posted by MiriamEllis   Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker Before all else, gratitude to every delivery person, whether in-house or third party, doing the essential work of keeping households safer and supplied in these times. I’m dedicating today’s column to the manager of a nearby Sprouts grocery store who personally drove my order to my door when an Instacart driver just couldn’t get the job done. If your business or clients are weighing whether to fulfill delivery in-house or partner with a third party, my small experience is an apt footnote to the huge, emergent debate over last-mile fulfillment options. I’d searched all over town for scarce potatoes, finally arranging by phone with the local Sprouts market to hold their last two bags for me one morning, and texting the Instacart driver about where the spuds were being held. Next: For whatever reason, the driver chose not to retrieve them, …

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A $15 federal minimum wage would reshape the lives of working people. Can Biden deliver?

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Between the emergency of the pandemic and wage increases at the state level, we’ve never been closer to a national $15 minimum wage. Saru Jayaraman likes to say the restaurant industry had a “pre-existing condition” long before the pandemic. “It was already the nation’s second largest private sector employer with the absolute lowest wage jobs of any industry,” says Jayaraman, the cofounder and president of One Fair Wage . The pandemic only exacerbated the financial insecurity of working in the restaurant industry—but with the added threat of contracting a dangerous virus. “Millions and millions of these workers were forced to go back to work before they felt safe or ready because they got no benefits, [and] they had no choice,” she says. “And what our data has shown is that when they went back to work, it was a nightmare.” Read Full Story

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GoFundMe campaign is tipping service workers screwed by SXSW cancellation

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Most donated tips are $10-$50. A branding agency in Austin, Texas, has launched a GoFundMe page to tip the local service workers impacted by the cancellation of this month’s South by Southwest festival. “Thousands of Austin service workers and musicians will be hit significantly from canceled events, lost wages and tips. We’ll take the funds to Austin music venues, restaurants, bars and hotels and distribute them to individuals from March 13-22,” write the fund’s creators, from the agency T3 . Read Full Story

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7 climate actions that Biden could take on his first day

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From rejoining the Paris Agreement to stopping the Keystone Pipeline to restoring the Bears Ears monuments, some of the Trump administration’s most public environmental rollbacks can be easily reversed by a new president. The last four years have been devastating for environmental regulation. The Trump administration dismantled the Clean Power Plan, opened Arctic wilderness for drilling, and, as part of a spree of rollbacks in his last days in office, shrank the protected habitat of the northern spotted owl. Those are just the most visible of the more than 100 rollbacks of environmental rules spearheaded by the administration. Now the Biden administration will start trying to reinstate them. Some of the changes will take years to reverse—and going further will often require votes in the Senate that may not be winnable. But Biden can also begin to repair some of the damage on his first day in office. Read Full …

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How this vegan restaurant has defied the odds to become a buzzy Black mecca

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Atlanta’s late-night comfort-food hotspot has thrived during the pandemic, adding two more locations. Founder and CEO Pinky Cole’s secret? Walking in her purpose. Within the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 100,000 restaurants in the United States either permanently closed or shut down for the foreseeable future, leaving nearly 3 million workers unemployed, according to the National Restaurant Association . Amid all the industry tumult, a vegan joint in Atlanta has not only stayed afloat but is having its best year ever. Read Full Story

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