Mexico Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs on $3 Billion Worth of U.S. Goods

Mexico Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs on $3 Billion Worth of U.S. Goods

Mexico retaliated against the Trump Administration last week by imposing tariffs on about $3 billion worth of American pork, steel, cheese, and other goods, according to the New York Times. This is in response to levies imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminum.

This tax war brings to light the increasingly strained relationship between the two countries as they work to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)

Farmers, who are among those most vulnerable to the Mexican tariffs, said the tariffs would devastate American agriculture.

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Trump's New Tip Pooling Rule Means Harsh Fines for Rule-Breakers

Trump's New Tip Pooling Rule Means Harsh Fines for Rule-Breakers

First, the back story:  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the rules for paying minimum wage and overtime.  It allows employers to take a tip credit against its minimum wage obligations if certain conditions are met.  One of those conditions is that tipped employees must be allowed to retain all of their tips. There is one exception to this – that employers can require employees to participate in a valid tip pooling arrangement.  

There are various requirements for a tip pool to be valid but most importantly, the tips can only be shared with people who customarily and regularly receive tips. Typically, these jobs are in the front of the house.

The FLSA is silent as to whether these same restrictions apply to employers who don’t take a tip credit and instead just pay a full minimum wage.  In 2010, the Ninth Circuit ruled that they don’t apply if you don’t take the tip credit. In 2011, the DOL issued regulations saying that they apply whether you take the tip credit or not.

The Tip Pooling Loophole

In 2017, the Trump Administration proposed a rule that would clarify this issue.  

The rule sought to allow employers who pay a full minimum wage to include back of house workers in a tip pool.  But the rule as proposed left open a potential loophole – that in giving employers control over the tips (under the expectation that they would use them to pay back of house workers) that the rule would have also allowed employers to pocket the tips if they wanted to.  

This prompted an enormous uproar and ultimately the administration scaled back; the law would be revised to make clear that employers cannot under any circumstances keep any portion of their employees’ tips.

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How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

To say the immigration topic in the United States is complicated, is an understatement.

Most recently, the national conversation around the subject has been a heated one arising from President Donald Trump’s efforts to shut down the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects and provides benefits to Dreamers, people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children, under the premise that it was unconstitutional.

According to advocacy group New American Economy, out of this segment of the population, which amounts to 700,000 immigrants who are currently protected under the DACA program, almost 19 percent hold an occupation in the restaurant or food service sector, as reported by “CNBC.”

Based on census data from 2011 through 2015, New American Economy estimated that the top three occupations by DACA-eligible workers include cashiers (6.5 percent), waiters and waitresses (4.9 percent), and chefs and cooks (4.6 percent). The statistics from the report indicate that the hospitality industry would be the hardest hit if the program was to be no more.

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Washington Report: Trump Moves Into the White House — How Will This Move the Restaurant Industry?

On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly: Washington Report," we discuss the political dissent that has blanketed the country since election day, and how some policies may affect those in foodservice.

Repealing and Replacing the Affordable Care Act

A major platform of the Trump campaign has been to "repeal and replace Obamacare." Also known as the Affordable Care Act, this piece of legislation is most well-known for prohibiting insurance companies from charging more or denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. The proposal to "repeal and replace" has caused demonstrations across the U.S. These have included marches and protests like the “cough-in” staged at Trump Tower’s Jean-Georges restaurant.

Last week, a budget narrowly passed in the Senate instructing teams to start coming up with plans to wipe out much of the ACA has caused concerns over whether pre-existing conditions will continue to be covered. The vote was met with much debate from Democrats, citing their reasoning for opposition, in spite of the fact that debate is not allowed during votes.

Controversial Cabinet Picks

Since the November election, Trump has seen a bit of a backlash in response to his cabinet picks. With nominees like Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, hearings for nominees have also been a hot topic. In a letter to Senate Democrats, the United States Office of Government Ethics warned that the hearing schedule for the president's nominees did not give the office a sufficient amount of time to properly review the picks. In the letter, ethics office director wrote, “For as long as I remain director of OGE’s staff and agency ethics, officials will not succumb to pressure to  cut corners and ignore conflicts of interest.” As of this afternoon, only two of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees are set to be confirmed.

NRA and the Trump Administration

The National Restaurant Association has been working with the administration since before the election to ensure the industry is well represented.

“We’ve been working with the Trump campaign all summer to talk about the restaurant industry. So we're prepared to be engaged as we have been, on behalf of the industry to continue to make sure that state and local lawmakers understand the benefit of restaurants and the value that we bring to each and every community across the country.”

As this new administration settles in, we will continue to keep you up to date on legislation affecting your business, here with On Foodable Weekly’s Washington Report. Be sure to watch and share!