Vote Yes on DC Initiative 77 on June 19

Balletpedia: Initiative 77

An initiative to gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to match the city’s minimum wage is on the ballot for voters in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2018.

  • A yes vote is a vote in favor of gradually increasing the minimum wage for tipped employees to the city’s standard minimum wage by 2026
  • A no vote is a vote against gradually increasing the minimum wage for tipped employees to the city’s standard minimum wage by 2026.

Initiative 77 aims to eliminate the tipped minimum wage in Washington, D.C., by gradually increasing the wage for tipped employees until it is equal to minimum wage law for non-tipped employees. As of March 2018, tipped workers received a base wage of $3.33 an hour.


In 2015 and 2016, the D.C. chapter of the Working Families Party and proponents of an increased minimum wage campaigned to place a minimum wage initiative on the ballot for November 8, 2016. The initiative was designed to raise Washington, D.C.’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 as well as the base wage for tipped employees to at least $15 an hour by 2025. Former president of the Washington D.C. Chamber of Commerce Harry Wingo filed a lawsuit claiming that the initiative petition was not valid. The Superior Court of the District of Columbia ruled in Wingo’s favor, but the ruling was later reversed after the defendants appealed, allowing proponents to collect signatures. However, supporters of the minimum wage initiative abandoned the effort when the Washington D.C. City Council approved an ordinance to increase the minimum wage.

On June 7, 2016, the D.C. City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) to increase the city’s minimum wage for non-tipped workers to $15 per hour by 2020. Under the ordinance, tipped workers would also see a base wage increase to $5 an hour by 2020 from $2.77 an hour (the base rate in 2016).

Proponents of Initiative 77 propose to amend the minimum wage ordinance to increase the wages of tipped workers. The initiative would require employers to pay tipped workers—such as waiters and baristas—the same minimum wage as other employees by 2026.

Why Vote Yes on Initiative 77

  • The tipped minimum has been stuck at $2.13 ever since 1996
  • 40 Percent of restaurant workers live in poverty
  • Restaurant workers
    • occupy 7 out of 10 of the lowest-paid occupations (Bureau of Labor)
    • 3 times more likely to fall below poverty line than any other worker
    • use food stamps at twice the rate of the U.S. workforce
    • file more sexual harassment claims than employees of any other industry

      • Higher rates of harassment at tipped sub-minimum wage restaurants

      • Must relay on customer, not employer, for their income

The conditions that cause so many restaurant workers to live in poverty and in environments susceptible to harassment is directly linked to the sub-minimum tip wage.  Restaurant workers are not guaranteed a livable wage.  National median wage of restaurant workers including tips is around $9 an hour.  Because these wages are keeping so many workers in poverty they often become victims of harassment from their managers, who could cut their shifts if they don’t comply, and customers, who could tip less if they don’t comply.   That could be the difference of not making rent.

Initiative 77 will alleviate this by requiring tip workers to make the DC minimum wage, which is on its way to becoming a “livable wage” at $15 an hour, including keeping the option of tipping as well. 6 states have already done this with positive results. The National Restaurant Association who profits off of denying tip workers benefits, claims restaurant can’t afford to pay this. But if you’re restaurant can only survive by keeping your employees in poverty and susceptible to harassment then maybe you shouldn’t be operating a restaurant.

Eliminating the 2 Tier Wage System by Guarantee Minimum Wage for Restaurant Workers

  • 7 states guarantee a equal single minimum wage to all workers, before tips
  • Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

ROC: Impact of Raising the Subminimum Wage on Restaurant Sales and Employment

“New research examining the strength of restaurant industries in states without a subminimum wage reveal that abolishing the tipped minimum wage is good for business and workers.

Key findings include:

● Above-average employment growth occurs in the seven states that have already abolished the subminimum wage (Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Minnesota, California, Oregon, and Washington).

● Per capita restaurant sales increase as the tipped minimum wage increases. Growth in tipped restaurant worker employment as a percentage of total state employment tends to be higher in the states that pay tipped workers above $5 per hour, and is higher still in states that have abolished the subminimum wage.

● Eliminating subminimum wage does not decrease employment. In fact, the restaurant industry projects employment growth over the next decade of 10.5% in the seven states without a tipped subminimum wage, compared to 9.1% in states with a subminimum wage.

● Since 2009, tipped restaurant workers have grown in importance as a percentage of total employed workers in $2.13 states, states where tipped worker wages are higher than $5.00, and states without subminimum wage—but growth of tipped restaurant workers as a percentage of total employment is highest in states without subminimum wage.

Find FACT SHEET: The Impact of Raising the Subminimum Wage on Restaurant Sales and Employment below or download here.

Click Here to Learn More About Restaurant Worker Rights in US

Watch Out for National Restaurant Association (NRA) Propaganda

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) makes profits off of suppressing restaurant worker wages, benefits, and safety.  They are the reason tip workers minimum wages have stayed stagnant at $2.13 since 1996.  They are the reason the majority of restaurant workers live in poverty.  The NRA often uses propaganda and false narratives to confuse voters about restaurant worker rights initiatives.  They’re current propaganda against Initiative 77 is called “Save Our Tips” which is spreading the false message that Initiative is ending tipping.  Which is a 100% false and anyone trying to mention that on any of their social media platforms is instantly block and their comments are removed.  Try it;)

Read more about the history of the NRA efforts to profit off of keeping the majority of restaurant workers in poverty