Letters: Pay attention to new law on tipping
I am writing to bring attention to a national issue that is negatively affecting the working-class restaurant industry locally.
A new Trump administration rule allowing restaurant owners to take tipped money from servers and redistribute it to the "back of house" employees (kitchen staff, dishwashers, cooks, etc.), went into effect Nov. 1.
The new policy is being pushed as a way to decrease the "long-standing wage gap between front of house (servers, bartenders, hosts, etc.) and back of house employees."
In reality, it is an indirect way to transfer money from tipped workers to business owners, who can then use less of their own money to compensate kitchen workers.
The law is considered to be an amendment to an Obama-era loophole in the previous policy that allowed employers and managers to take a cut of their employees' tips for themselves.
Congress passed this new law preventing business owners from skimming tips, but in doing so it created a new loophole allowing for more mandatory tip-sharing or pooling. Again, this new loophole allows the employer to redistribute the tips to avoid paying increased wages to back-of-house employees.
This new practice is now being implemented in restaurants across Portland. Notably, Thirsty Lion Gastropub — you may remember them from adding a 2% "service charge" to all guest checks, causing a lawsuit, resulting in a judgment to pay back all customers.
However, it is still in practice, just more explicitly stated. The explanation of what the money is for, now printed on all receipts, also is inaccurate. More info on that upon request — the new policy was enacted Nov. 7. Employees at Thirsty Lion were only given a seven-day notice of the mandatory change in the tip-out procedure, which left little to no time for recourse.
On Nov. 7, the front-of-house staff was given an addendum to their employee handbook outlining the new policy, and anyone who does not sign it (and comply) by the end of their first shift under the new rule will be suspended immediately.
The majority of front-of-house staff at the Washington Square and Tanasbourne locations have endorsed a letter of grievance that was drafted describing their concerns, to be given to the owners in response to the change, and have stapled it to their addendums (most of which have been signed "V.C." vi coactus, or "having been forced").
Requests for team meetings with owners (who live locally) have been refused.
Time to rethink meat-based holidays
Last week, President Trump took a break from watching his impeachment hearings to pardon two turkeys. Every one of us can exercise our own pardon power by choosing nonviolent, cruelty-free holiday observances.
The 244 million turkeys killed in the United States this year were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes were clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. At 16 weeks of age, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dumped them into boiling water to remove their feathers.
Consumers pay a heavy price, too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate the risk of chronic killer diseases. Intense prolonged cooking is required to destroy deadly pathogens lurking inside.
Now, for the good news. U.S. turkey production is down by a whopping 20% from its 1995 high of 293 million, as Americans are reducing their meat consumption. Our supermarkets carry several delicious, healthful, oven-ready plant-based roasts.
Give thanks for good fortune, health and happiness with life-affirming, cruelty-free meals of plant-based roasts, vegetables, fruits and grains.
Digital supply chains would aid economy
The Industrial Internet of Things (also known as the IIoT) drives the modernization of digital supply. Solidifying digital supply chains requires a new awareness among the industry, as well as providing them with modern tools.
While obstacles exist, implementing these new technologies will greatly enhance the effectiveness of global supply chains.
Standardizing digital supply chains may prevent a bottleneck effect brought about by the barrage of highly anticipated innovation.
The management of future supply chains will be quite different than what is common today. However, several factors are slowing the standardization of the IIoT. These include:
• Accessing system data
• Analytical systems for leveraging data
• Net neutrality
Digital supply chains will need to refocus their resources toward hiring qualified staff that can make data operational, as well as upgrading their servers and accounting for increases in energy consumption.
The future of net neutrality is a significant factor because of the role of IIoT providers.
Among the emerging technologies that will reshape digital supply is blockchain. It provides the kind of visibility and other logistical advantages that is much needed by modern supply chains. One hundred percent visibility is possible on a blockchain.
Regulatory compliance and product tracking improve greatly in a transparent supply chain business model. Though it does not come without its challenges.
Data scientists who understand blockchain technology are needed to close the skills gap. The consensus is that the manufacturing and retail benefits of putting a supply chain on a blockchain outweigh the effort.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is often mentioned in the same breath of both blockchain and distribution. As machine learning and augmented reality advance, so do the applications for more efficient and effective supply chains.
Automation of the future will include robotics to minimize any repetitive movements in a system. Finally, the mass adoption of cloud-based technology will lower consumer prices while encouraging industry growth.
Suburban water rates are much too high
Does anyone every really look at their water bill in Beaverton? I do, and it baffles me how expensive water is.
Let me preface this by saying we are two older folks who use the shower once per day and on average do two loads of laundry per week, and we water on occasion during the summer. On our latest bill the water itself runs at $14.28 for a month but the water base is $16. How can the water base be more expensive than the water itself? Clearly I don't get how this works.
The sewer use is $7.11, sounds lucky and reasonable, but wait, the sewer base is $31.60. Now let's toss in another $11.31 for surface water management. Who are these managers ? Can someone please tell me how my water bill for two of us is close to $80 to $90 a month. I need to understand where all this money goes and who gets it.
I can't imagine what someone's water bill must be with a house full of kids. Seriously I want answers, this bill is outrageous compared to other places friends and family live, and some of them live in the desert and pay nearly only half what we pay. How does that makes sense?
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