D.C. Council To Vote On Initiative 77 Repeal Today

Contributed by Shawna Mizelle

The war on wages as some have called it has been going on since Initiative 77 was introduced on the ballots for D.C. residents in June. If enacted Initiative 77 would gradually raise wages for tipped workers in the District until their compensation is equal to minimum wage. This transition of wages would be completed by 2026.

Several coalitions of tipped workers formed to argue against the Initiative and show the perspective of those it would effect most. These coalitions include, but are not limited to Save Our Tips and NO2DC77. Both coalitions share a common argument that the elimination of tip credit would be detrimental to tipped workers. Some tipped employees like Drew Fisher, a bartender at Number Nine said, “This job pays for my future, my career, my school, and my rent. If this were to pass I don’t even know where I’m going start or how to rethink another path.”


Others who supported Initiative 77 think that anyone who works goes to work everyday is deserving of minimum wage. Similar sentiments were echoed from people like Diana Ramirez who told WJLA, “We’re going to get better wages and better tips for everybody in the District.”

At the polls in June D.C. residents voted in favor of Initiative 77, Shortly after voting constituents voices became muffled, as the D.C. Council introduced a bill to repeal the initiative in July. The bill was backed by 7 of the 13 council members including D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4), Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Anita Bonds (D-At Large), Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) and Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8).

Peter Elias, manager of Agora, a restaurant in NW D.C. told WJLA, “You’re taking away tips from the servers and runners, and all of the tipped employees that are here including bartenders.”

Today D.C. council members will vote to repeal Initiative 77. Although, a majority of council members have already backed the repeal others like council member Elissa Silverman (D-At Large) have suggested a compromise. Silverman says the compromise was inspired after the September 17th council meeting where hundreds of constituents voiced their opinion on the initiative. She will introduce her compromise legislation following the repeal debate.

See what some DC residents are saying below:


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