Stealing wages from the working poor

Philadelphia sports bar and restaurant chain Chickie's & Pete's has signed a consent judgment agreeing to pay current and former employees more than $6.8 million in back wages and damages for improperly taking tips from servers and violating federal minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Following one of the U.S. Department of Labor's largest tipped employee investigations in recent years, the company and its owner, Peter Ciarrocchi, Jr., have agreed to pay $6,842,412 to 1,159 employees at nine of the company's locations, plus a $50,000 civil money penalty. The proposed consent judgment has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and is subject to the review and approval by the court."The egregious actions by Chickie's & Pete's harmed real people and violated the promise that a fair day's work deserves a fair day's pay," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Restaurant servers are among the lowest paid workers in this country, with many earning incomes below the poverty line. Tipped workers deserve better and this action shows that the Department of Labor is ready to stand up for them."Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, tips are the property of the employee who...

Raising minimum wage helps economy

One popular myth is that raising the minimum wage hurts the economy. Seventy-five years of empirical data has busted that myth wide open. Since 1938, the minimum wage has been raised several times yet the economy has grown and grown. Raising the minimum wage creates purchasing power for wage earners who then spend their wages. Their spending creates demand for goods and services.  Because one person's spending is another person's wages, the economy grows.          Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, www.bea.gov Mid-year population estimates from U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov