June 18, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The D.C. Council voted unanimously June 14 to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said she will sign the bill, which is estimated to increase the pay of 114,000 workers in the city, if it’s approved by a final vote The city’s minimum is already slated to go from $10.50 to $11.50 in July, and the bill would bring that up by about 70 cents a year, with annual increases after it reaches $15 indexed to the rate of inflation.
Councilmembers compromised with the restaurant lobby and gave tipped workers a much smaller increase, from the current $2.77 to $5 by 2020. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the increase “prices entry-level jobs away from people,” while other opponents say it would drive jobs across the Potomac River to the Virginia suburbs, where the minimum is only $7.25. The mayor dismissed those arguments, saying that people in the city are working “sometimes two or three jobs but barely making ends meet.” “This represents a huge step forward, and we're thrilled to see it happen.” DC for $15 cochair Delvone Michael said in a statement June 15. “But it's not enough. Washington, DC is a city awash in wealth, but still one where too many working people are struggling to keep their heads above water.” Read more