The Omnibus spending bill, unveiled by Congressional negotiators Wednesday and passed by the House yesterday, includes a number of provisions relevant to pending labor issues. Of primary concern is a so-called compromise provision on the tip pooling issue that in actuality is potentially devastating to small businesses. The compromise, which was authored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and lured support from Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, provides a disturbing pathway for endless lawsuits at the federal level in which improper handling of tips is alleged. The provision gives workers as well as the Department of Labor the specific right to sue employers for misappropriation of tip monies as stolen wages and empowers DOL to impose civil penalties as well. The difficulties associated with such a provision are abundantly familiar to Massachusetts franchisees, who despite DDIFO efforts at corrective legislation, are still subject to litigation merely because tip monies may be left on the counter! We will be working with the CFA and the IFA in the hope of striking this egregious provision. The omnibus bill also actually provides DOL with a 1% increase in its annual budget of $12 billion and level funds the NLRB. The Trump administration had previously proposed a 20% cut in the Department of Labor budget and a 6 percent reduction in that of the NLRB. Congress must pass a funding bill by midnight to avoid another shutdown.