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There has been a lot of talk and debate lately regarding increasing the tip minimum wage.  The WAGES Act, introduced in Congress by Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, if passed, would raise the federal tip minimum from $2.13 an hour.  This would be the first increase since 1991.  The federal tip minimum wage was originated in 1966 and was 50% of the federal minimum wage.  Today it is just 29.4% of the federal minimum wage.  Over half the states and the District of Columbia have tip minimums that are higher than the federal. These range from $2.33 an hour in Wisconsin to $7 in Hawaii.  Washington is one of seven states that has no tip credit law, so employers pay the state's full minimum wage, currently at $9.19 an hour.  The other states that do not have tip credit regulations are: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon.  Servers who work in these states receive the same minimum wage as all other workers.

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Top Stories: Lodging & Gaming
Long Beach May Be Setting For Further Push On Living Wage Laws
Labor organizers who pushed for the city's voter-approved living- wage law - and who are declaring it to be a success for hospitality workers - are planning a similar measure for those who work in other tourism-related jobs.  
Four Seasons Hotels: Building A Hospitality And Customer Service Culture
When I started my career as a customer service and hospitality consultant and keynote speaker, I assumed I'd be hired by companies with desperately bad customer service, in dire need of an overhaul. What I've found instead is that organizations with pretty-good-already customer service are the ones that engage my services, with an eye toward becoming even better.
(Forbes)  Read the complete article
Union Workers Ratify New Agreement at Toronto Plaza Hotel Ending 13 Week Strike 

The new agreement was approved by a margin of 80% and removes all the draconian concessions demanded by hotel management and even provides a wage increase. Also removed from the final settlement was management's insistence on new language that would have gutted basic protections and rights of union workers.

Thousands May Have Claims In Casino Overtime Case
A pair of Nevada lawyers pressing a $70 million wage and overtime abuse claim against the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort are trying to contact more than 7,000 current and former employees who could be eligible to collect monetary damages.  
(Star Advertiser)  Read the complete article
Top Stories: Healthcare
UPMC, Healthcare Union Take Center Stage At Labor Day Parade
The battle between Pittsburgh's largest employer and one of the country's largest unions took center stage in the Labor Day celebration Downtown, as organized labor stepped up its effort to establish a beachhead in Western Pennsylvania's service economy.  
(TribLIVE)  Read the complete article
ACO Manifesto: 50 Things to Know About Accountable Care Organizations
ACOs have grown to become much more visible within the past three years, as more than half of Americans now live in primary care service areas served by ACOs. To better understand the model and its role in healthcare reform, Becker's Hospital Review collected the following facts about ACOs. Topics include ACO goals, terminology, geographic spread, payment structures, and the specifics of Medicare and commercial ACOs.   
(Becker's Hospital Review)  Read the complete article
Top Stories: Human Resources
Oakland Airport Workers Strike Over Moves To Cut Benefits
Around 180 food and retail workers staged a one-day strike at Oakland International Airport Friday, picketing in front of the airport to protest what they say are efforts by their employer to cut pay and benefits. 
(CBS SF Bay Area)  Read the complete article
Employer Survey: Cost Of Providing Healthcare Coverage Expected To Increase By 7% In 2014
The cost of providing employee healthcare benefits at the nation's largest employers is projected to increase 7% in 2014 - the third-consecutive year employers have budgeted this amount, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of more than 265 large U.S. employers.
(Drug Store News)  Read the complete article
Retailer Employment Practices Under Fire This Labor Day
August is usually a quiet news month...everyone's supposed to be on vacation. This year is clearly the exception to the rule. Along with the latest drama in Syria (totally out of scope for me), it seems the confluence of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, DC., the US Labor Day holiday, and the impending ramp up of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare has created a Petri dish of dissatisfied people and companies - especially in Retail.  
(Forbes)  Read the complete article
Starbucks CEO: Affordable Care Act No Excuse to Cut Benefits

There have been plenty of stories recently about employers that have used the Affordable Care Act (also referred to as Obamacare) as an excuse for cutting workers' hours. UPS, the Hamilton (NJ) School District and the city of Long Beach, Calif. have all attributed employee cutbacks to the health care reform that is due to take effect next year.

But count on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to buck the trend.  
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