FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, April 27, 2023
Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671
Washington, DC’s Ballot Initiative 82 Effective May 1st
Tipped Workers Will Receive First of Two Pay Raises in 2023
WASHINGTON, DC — After numerous delays, on May 1, 2023, Washington, DC’s tipped workers will receive their first pay increase as a result of Ballot Initiative 82 going into effect. The initiative, which was passed in the 2022 general election with nearly 74% support, will increase the tipped minimum wage by 65 cents to $6 an hour on May 1. There will be a second increase of $2 which will take place two months later on July 1, 2023, and there will be subsequent $2 increases every year thereafter until 2027 when the tipped minimum wage will match Washington, DC’s prevailing minimum wage.
The prevailing minimum wage in DC is currently $16.10 and will increase to $17 on July 1. Had Initiative 82 not become law, the tipped minimum wage would remain $5.35 until July 1, when it would have only increased 30 cents on July 1 to $5.65, instead of increasing a combined total $2.65 in 2023 thanks to the pay raises outlined Initiative 82. The gap between the tipped minimum wage on July 1 will be $9 and by 2027 will become $0, when the tipped minimum wage matches the prevailing minimum wage.
This historic ballot initiative is aimed at reducing the wage gap between tipped workers and non-tipped workers, and providing a fair living wage for all residents of the District of Columbia. The initiative was passed with overwhelming support from both workers and employers, and has been hailed as a victory for labor rights in the nation’s capital. By gradually eliminating the tipped minimum wage, in 2027 Washington, DC will join Alaska, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in becoming a One Fair Wage state.
“May 1st is a great day for tipped workers in Washington, DC,” said Ryan O’Leary, proposer of Initiative 82 and former tipped worker. “We have been fighting for fair wages and equal treatment for years, and this initiative is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame that it took so long, but we’re happy to finally see some progress.”
The tipped minimum wage is a controversial issue across the United States, with many workers and labor advocates arguing that it perpetuates income inequality and leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation by employers and sexual harassment by customers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour has not been increased since 1991, and many tipped workers struggle to make ends meet.
“We’re extremely proud to be part of this movement to provide fair wages for all workers,” said Kris Furnish, a former tipped worker and member of the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry, which advocated for the passage of the ballot initiative. “No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. Initiative 82 will help ensure that all workers in Washington, DC are able to support themselves and their families.”
The increase in the tipped minimum wage, and its gradual elimination, will benefit thousands of workers in Washington, DC, including servers, bartenders, valets, nail salon technicians, and other tipped workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries. It is estimated that the increase will boost the incomes of these workers by an average of $4,000 per year, providing much-needed relief for workers.
“Starting with Initiative 76 in 2015, many of us have worked on this issue for nearly 8 years so we are thankful that the unethical tip credit will finally be eliminated and tipped workers will soon make the same hourly wage as non-tipped workers,” says Adam Eidinger, treasurer of the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry and former tipped worker.
Now that the ballot initiative has become law and the first pay raise has gone into effect, the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry is being retired. “I hope the DC Council keeps their hands off this ballot initiative. The voters have spoken, again, and we know we can pass this again,” concludes Eidinger.