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D.C. Votes to End Tipped Minimum Wage, But Law Not Final

June 26, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—D.C. residents voted by a 55%-45% margin June 19 to end the city’s lower minimum wage for tipped workers—but the City Council might overturn it or water it down. The Initiative 77 measure would phase out the city’s $3.33 an hour tipped minimum, bringing it up along with the regular minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The vote divided the city along race and class lines, essentially restaurant-goers against low-wage restaurant workers: The initiative carried almost every precinct in the overwhelmingly black southeast, but lost in the affluent northwest and several gentrifying areas. “The system works for some people and it doesn’t for others,” Restaurant Opportunities Center D.C. director Diana Ramirez told the Huffington Post. “People of color are affected [more] by this.” The restaurant industry, however, will have a stronger voice influencing how the Council implements the initiative, as most Councilmembers opposed it. Andy Shallal, owner of the Busboys and Poets restaurants, told a “Yes on 77” election-watch party that he hoped the Council would make the measure more business-friendly, such as by giving restaurants tax breaks or lengthening the timetable for phasing out the tipped minimum. Read more

June 26, 2018

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