Local Business

D.C. Council Moves to Repeal Initiative 77

Last month, the voters of the District passed Initiative 77, which would gradually raise the tipped minimum wage in D.C. from $3.33 to $15.

The initiative passed by a 55 to 44 percent margin, much to the chagrin of the restaurant industry, 10 council members and Mayor Muriel Bowser.

NO2DC77, the opposition to Initiative 77, said “the ballot measure would outlaw the tip-wage system and force nightlife and hospitality establishments to convert tipped staff to hourly-wage employees.”

“Initiative 77 threatens to up-end the economic foundation of D.C.’s signature hometown hospitality and nationally recognized local social amenities — and endangers the professional livelihoods and good incomes of tipped employees.”

They claim the passing of Initiative 77 would result in actual incomes of tipped employees declining, for many by large amounts, a decline in customer service and harm to a major employer leading the economic engine of the city hurting the overall local economy.

NO2DC77 believes the national political group financing Initiative 77 has a not-so-hidden agenda — they want to end tipping.

Groups for Initiative 77 like Patriotic Millionaires likewise believes that those against the initiative are also backed by big money people placing profit over worker’s interest.

“There’s another NRA wreaking havoc in America, and part of its success comes from being not nearly as recognizable as the National Rifle Association,” Morris Pearl, chair, Patriotic Millionaires said in his op-ed “Ignore the Lobbyist, The People Have Spoken.” “I’m referring to the National Restaurant Association, the enormous lobbying organization that defends the interests of restaurant owners and (mostly) fast food corporations.”

“This lobbying power, as well as other entities like it, has been working double-time to block Initiative 77 in D.C., and will continue to use its influence to force the District’s Council to ignore the will of the majority of voters.”

With the majority of D.C. Council lawmakers opposed to the initiative, active protest and criticism — it came as no surprise when the council introduced a bill on Tuesday, July 10 for a full repeal of Initiative 77.

Official votes on the bill by the council aren’t expected until September after the summer recess.

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