Initiative 77 was a Washington, D.C. voter-approved ballot initiative to phase out the minimum wage exemption for tipped employees. On June 19, 2018, the measure was passed by a more than 10% margin.Contents
D.C. has previously established a minimum wage. In June 2016, the Council of the District of Columbia voted to raise the standard minimum wage to $15 per hour and the tipped minimum wage to $5 per hour by 2020.
Implementation of Initiative 77 would gradually phase out a lower wage rate earned by bartenders, nail stylists, barbers, bellhops, delivery drivers, restaurant wait staff, and other tipped workers until it equals the regular minimum wage in 2026. Under the law before Initiative 77 was passed, employers are required to make up the difference if an employee does not receive enough in tips to reach the standard minimum wage.Support and opposition
The Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a New York-based nonprofit group, led the effort to remove the exemption. The National Restaurant Association and others bankrolled a "Save Our Tips" campaign to keep the existing exemption.
The Washington Post, Mayor Muriel Bowser, many restaurant owners, and a majority of the Council opposed the initiative.Vote
On June 19, 2018, in a primary election, the voters of D.C. approved the measure with about 55% of the vote.Initiative 77 Choice Votes % Yes 44,353 55.14 No 36,090 44.86 Total votes 80,443 100.00 Implementation
Following the passing of the initiative, it must now go to the United States Congress for a 30-day review. Some members of the D.C. council opposed the measure and suggested overturning the initiative altogether.
Implementation of the initiative will bring the District of Columbia to the same standard set by California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Montana, and Minnesota, which do not have a separate tipped minimum wage.Repeal effort
On July 10, 2018, a majority of the D.C. Council moved to repeal the initiative. Their repeal took the form of a one page bill entitled the "Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018". Proponents of the initiative pointed out that the Initiative received more popular support than all of the Councilmembers who faced re-election.
Through congressional interference in the District's legislation, Republican congressmen Mark Meadows and Gary Palmer sought to overturn Initiative 77. The two introduced an amendment to the House’s government spending bill for 2019 that would prevent any government spending on its implementation.See also