Bloomberg Law reported on Thursday that the Department of Labor deliberately removed damning data from a report analyzing the consequences of its new tip-pooling proposal. The rule, if implemented, would allow employers of tipped workers to redistribute tips or confiscate them entirely. The data showed that this would be a severe blow to workers’ income, a fact that held true even after Trump appointees in the department had the data manipulated for a more palatable outcome:
Senior department political officials—faced with a government analysis showing that workers could lose billions of dollars in tips as a result of the proposal—ordered staff to revise the data methodology to lessen the expected impact, several of the sources said. 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.
The Economic Policy Institute has estimated the new rule will cost tipped workers $5.8 billion a year. That fact rather undermines the Trump administration’s claim that its policies are good for workers.