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D.C. Voted on Higher Wages for Tipped Workers. Here’s What Happened.

Support for the controversial ballot measure, which will raise the minimum wage on tipped employees, fell on familiar race and class lines.
relates to D.C. Voted on Higher Wages for Tipped Workers. Here’s What Happened.
David Montgomery/CityLab

On Tuesday, voters in Washington, D.C., weighed in on a dispute between two national restaurant associations over an increasingly contentious issue: tipping.

With 55 percent of the vote, the city passed Initiative 77. The ballot measure, tacked onto the city’s local primary election, raises the base wage for tipped workers, who receive less than minimum wage under federal law. The National Restaurant Association was joined by a vocal majority of restaurant owners, bartenders, and servers in the District in strongly opposing the pay raise. Owners argued that the increase will wreck fragile profit margins. Front-of-the-house staffer insisted that their careers are at stake.