Alison Braley-Rattai, Assistant Professor in the Department of Labour Studies, wrote a piece recently published in the National Post about a strike at a Niagara Falls restaurant that has raised questions about tip-sharing throughout the hospitality industry.
The ongoing labour dispute at the Rainforest Cafe in Niagara Falls, Ont., highlights a growing concern among hospitality workers across the country — employer control over their tips.
Unionized servers, bussers and hostesses at the Rainforest Cafe have been on strike since early April. They are trying to bargain their first collective agreement with their employer, Canadian Niagara Hotels. Canadian Niagara Hotels owns the Rainforest Cafe location, as well as several local-area hotels and attractions.
Both the substance and the administration of the employer’s tip-sharing policy remains a key sticking point in the dispute.
Tips make up a substantial portion of a server’s income. And yet, prior to 2016, there was nothing in Ontario law that prevented employers from taking servers’ tips for any reason whatsoever: to cover breakage, theft by patrons, general renovations and other capital investments, to redistribute to other workers, or, simply, to keep them.
Tips are not counted as wages. And, contrary to the popular view, until recently, servers were not legally entitled to them.
Continue reading the full article here.