State Watch

DC Council officially repeals minimum-wage hike for tipped workers

The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to repeal a ballot measure which would have required tipped workers to be paid a full minimum wage.

The vote repealed Initiative 77, which was approved by 55 percent of voters in June.

The D.C. Council voted 8 - 5 for the repeal, the same margin as the first vote in the process. 

The bill would have ended a system that allows employers to pay as low as $3.89 hourly to tipped workers as long as customer gratuities add up to the minimum wage.

The initiative would also have gradually increased that wage to meet the standard minimum wage in 2026, which is expected to be $15 by 2020 in DC.

Opponents of the bill, including Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, expressed concerns that it would lead to job losses and restaurant closures.

Proponents said that it would have protected tipped workers against mistreatment from customers.

Initiative 77 marks the fifth voter initiative overturned by the D.C. Council, raising concerns about potential disfranchisement of Washington voters.

The National Women's Law Center criticized the repeal, claiming that the D.C. Council "silenced" voters. 

 

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