TN senator fights Trump proposal on tips for servers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A senator from Memphis is looking to take away restaurant owners' ability to control tips before servers even get it.

Senator Lee Harris (D-TN) filed legislation to fight a new proposal from President Donald Trump's administration that would give employers discretion over tips.

The proposal would allow employers to keep wages for themselves or put the money back into the business.

"For how many years I've been doing this, people tip you based on your service and that's what a tip essentially is. I couldn't imagine doing a flat rate," Blue Monkey server Perrin Edwards said.

Harris is now seeking input from Memphis restaurant owners on how they plan to enforce this proposed change.

"It's important to me to get a local perspective as to how this might affect people's bottom line," Harris said. "I'm not sure that servers know that this proposed change could become a reality, and I'm seeking their input."

Blue Monkey co-owner Michael Johnson is also not a fan.

"I don't think that particular legislation is a good idea. I think it'll impact the type of service you get in a restaurant when you go out to eat," he said. "Some people are great at it; some people are mediocre at it; some people just can not do it; it's hard work. I think most people understand that, and I think that's why most people, certainly in our establishment, they tip fairly."

"These hard-working Americans report earnings of $24,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They can't afford to hand their hard-earned tips to their bosses, which is what this new role seems to permit," Sen. Harris said in a statement.

Harris will meet restaurant owners at Stein's restaurant in South Memphis on Friday afternoon to discuss the changes.

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