🍕Dough Raiser 2: The Rising 🍕 (10/26)

Join us on October 26 for Dough Raiser 2: The Rising
Please join us next month for our second fundraiser,
Dough Raiser 2: The Rising.”

Our first Dough Raiser was such a resounding success. Thank you to everyone who showed up and turned out!

Our next fundraiser will be Halloween-themed 🎃. Initiative 82 Proposer, Ryan O’Leary, will be making spooky drinks and the campaign’s treasurer, Adam Eidinger, will be making his terrifyingly delicious pizzas. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume — there will be prizes for best dressed!

WHEN: October 26, 5pm – 8pm
WHERE: 2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW
BUY TICKETS HERE!!

We raised nearly $1,700 at our previous Dough Raiser and we hope to raise at least $3,000 to help get us over the finish line. We know the opposition will be miseducating their staff and misleading voters. We need to make sure we have the resources to combat their deep-pocketed misinformation campaign.

Can’t make it? You can still donate what you can!

If you’re on Facebook, invite your friends to join you!

On Instagram or Twitter? Share the graphic👆!

The sooner you purchase your tickets, the sooner we can use your contribution to help educate voters, so don’t delay!

Join us for our Poster Parties!

Join us for one of our poster parties!

It’s time to put up Initiative 82 posters around DC!

We are hosting a series of Poster Parties where you can come by the campaign office, meet other volunteers, pick up posters, and hang them around your neighborhood!

Our 1st Poster Party is scheduled for Thursday, September 14 from 5pm to 7pm
Our 2nd Poster Party is scheduled for Monday, September 19 from 6pm to 8pm
Our 3rd Poster Party is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 from 1pm to 4pm

We are meeting at the campaign HQ (2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW) and then fanning out to all 8 wards to put up the campaign posters. Parking on Massachusetts Ave. is a bit difficult right now due to construction, so we suggest parking on 25th or California and walking over. Please bring your own stapler and clear packing tape! Questions? Give us a call at 202-733-4640.

Help spread the word by inviting your friends on Facebook!


Please fill out the form so we know you will be joining us:

Washington Post Opinion: End the tipped wage to help back-of-house staff

Screen grab from the Washington Post article

Today the Washington Post published a guest opinion piece by Tim Linaberry. Here’s a quote:

As a result, front-of-house workers typically have much higher incomes than those of workers in equivalent back-of-house positions, though wages are wildly variable. The average hourly pay difference between the front and back is nearly 2 to 1 in some restaurants. This disparity hardly seems fair and is part of the reason Initiative 82 needs to be passed.

Click here to read the entire article.

Join us for a “Dough Raiser for Initiative 82” 5-8pm, Thursday, July 28

Join us for a Dough Raiser for Initiative 82!

You are invited to our Dough Raiser for Initiative 82! From 5pm to 8pm on Thursday, July 28, Initiative 82 Proposer Ryan O’Leary is going to make drinks, while the campaign’s treasurer, Adam Eidinger, will make delicious pizzas. We’re calling it a Dough Raiser because we hope to raise some big dough to help pay our legal bills and purchase new signs to put up around DC. Yeasty puns aside, the opposition’s lawsuit is a serious matter and they are forcing us to spend more money on legal bills instead of educating voters on why the tip credit needs to be eliminated.

While we have advance tickets available, we urge everyone to donate as much as they feel comfortable contributing. If you are on Facebook, please do us a favor and invite 10 of your friends! SEE YOU THERE!

We Qualified for November’s General Election Ballot!

Screen grab from the DCBOE memo

At the April meeting of the DCBOE, it was declared that the campaign submitted more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. We needed to collect the signatures of 5% of the registered voters District-wide (about 26,204) and signatures from 5% of registered voters in 5 of the 8 Wards. We ended up submitting 27,026 valid signatures and cross the 5% threshold in Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Although we turned our petitions in before the February 22 deadline to be on DC’s June 19 primary ballot, an error in counting the signatures pushed Initiative 82 on to the November 8, 2022 General Election Ballot.

Here’s some news articles about us qualifying for the ballot:

Initiative 82 Petitions Submitted!

Today the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry submitted 7,971 completed petitions to the DC Board of Elections. These petitions will be reviewed over the next 30 days and by Wednesday, April 6, we should know if we qualified for the June 21 primary ballot. A big thank you goes out all the petition circulators who helped us collect the signatures of over 5% of the registered voters in the District of Columbia. We could not have done this without everyone’s help!


All of the Initiative 82 petitions in order from 1 to 7,971
Initiative 82 proposer Ryan O'Leary and Field Director Kris Furnish in front of all the Initiative 82 petitions

Press Release: Campaign Reaches Signature Milestone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 3, 2022

PRESS CONTACT: Nikolas Schiller, 202-643-3878,
Press@BetterRestaurantsDC.org
Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671,
Adam@BetterRestaurantsDC.org

Initiative 82 Organizers Have Gathered Enough Signatures to Qualify for the DC Primary Election Ballot

Pandemic, Winter Weather Didn’t Deter Organizers of the One Fair Wage Movement
D.C.’s Voters Will Weigh in for Second Time on the Elimination of the Archaic Tip Credit

WASHINGTON, DC — Organizers of Ballot Initiative 82, formally known as “The Tipped Credit Elimination Act,” which will gradually increase the base wage for tipped workers and make it the same as non-tipped workers by 2027, have reached the milestone of collecting 5% of the signatures of registered District of Columbia voters. With over 26,205 “valid” signatures, the DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry (DCCBBRI) will focus the remaining three weeks of signature collection on ensuring the ballot initiative will withstand any potential challenge and be placed on the June 21 primary election ballot.

“Ballot Initiative 82 gives voters a powerful tool to help the restaurant industry fix its labor crisis and give low wage tipped workers a fair wage with tips on top,” said Ryan O’Leary, a ten year D.C. restaurant worker who filed Ballot Initiative 82 with the DC Board of Elections (DCBOE) in June 2021. O’Leary, who is an organizer with the non-profit organization One Fair Wage, adds, “For the sake of tipped workers in D.C., and democracy, we were not deterred by the coronavirus pandemic nor winter weather from collecting signatures from voters in all 8 wards. As of today, we have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but we will continue collecting a large surplus before submitting them to the DCBOE on Tuesday, February 22nd for certification.”

“The frustration surrounding the repeal of Ballot Initiative 77 was heard by a lot of petition circulators. Voters sympathized with us circulating petitions in a deadly pandemic and colder than normal winter as a matter of necessity due to the D.C. Council’s inaction on the unfair and discriminatory subminimum tipped wage. Today’s milestone is because of tremendous concern of D.C. voters who still feel insulted by the D.C. Council for repealing Ballot Initiative 77 immediately after it was passed into law by voters,” said Adam Eidinger, treasurer of DCCBBRI, as well as the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature D.C., which passed Initiative 81 in November 2020 by 76% of the vote.

“People really recall how a voter approved raise for the lowest paid workers in D.C. was pilfered by arrogance and misinformation in 2018, but today, an enthusiastic electorate is looking to course correct for workers who suffered the most during the pandemic. Democracy is alive in local D.C. and with awareness rising, we are hopeful for even greater voter support this time for eliminating the archaic tip credit,” says Eidinger.

Tipped workers in D.C. make a base wage of $5.05 per hour paid by employers, who are allowed to credit the first $10.15 in tips per hour to satisfy their responsibility to pay tipped workers D.C.’s minimum wage of $15.20 per hour over pay period. When you leave a tip at a restaurant in D.C., the tip credit essentially allows the business owner to credit your tip against the wages they are required to pay their tipped workers. The campaign is not against tipping, rather the campaign is against the unethical practice of using tips to pay workers less than they deserve.

“We are pro-tips, but in the COVID era, we believe tipped workers are accepting work that puts them in harm’s way and deserve a reasonable expectation of actual wages that are not subject to the whims and biases of customers. The campaign’s slogan is “Fair wage, with tips on top!,” says Kris Furnish, a former tipped worker and field director for DCCBBRI.

The campaign developed a COVID era election strategy to succeed in getting Initiative 82 on the primary ballot. In December, seeking to muster signatures from hard to reach voters, DCCBBRI mailed over 13,000 D.C. voters the petition so they could sign in the comfort and safety of their homes. The number of these signatures continues to grow daily with voters signing these petitions and mailing them back with postage paid for by the campaign.

“We are aware that many voters have yet to mail back their petition and in order for these signatures to be counted, we want voters to have the most time possible to return their petitions back to the Campaign,” says Furnish, who helped spearhead the campaign’s mailing. The current mail collection rate already exceeds 12%, more than twice the rate achieved by a sign-by-mail effort in 2020 with Initiative 81.

The sign-by-mail strategy to gather signatures was first deployed successfully in D.C. during the 2020 election cycle and helped secure the passage of Initiative 81, which shifted enforcement of laws concerning natural plant medicines to become among the Metropolitan Police Department’s lowest law enforcement priorities. DCCBBRI utilized in-person petition circulation for most of the signatures, including outside of free covid testing sites at public libraries and fire stations, but also near traditional locations like farmers markets, grocery stores, Metro stations, and at busy street corners, with collectors wearing masks and using other COVID protection measurers, making the feat of collecting thousands of signatures all the more difficult.

Ballot initiatives are afforded 180 days to collect the signatures of 5% of the registered voters in D.C. provided that they also collect the 5% in 5 of the 8 wards. With the Initiative 82 petition being issued on October 13, 2021, the campaign technically has until Friday, April 8 to finish collecting signatures. But in order to qualify for the June 21 primary election ballot, the campaign is required to submit them to the DCBOE by Tuesday, February 22.

D.C. law requires the DCBOE to utilize the official voter registration count published 30 days prior to the submission of the petitions and the official total published on December 31, 2021, states there are currently 524,088 registered voters. The campaign checks every petition against the most recent DCBOE voter roll, which contains the names and addresses of every registered voter in the District of Columbia. For every voter whose name and address match what is written on the petition and in the voter roll, the campaign considers the voter’s signature “valid.” Currently, the campaign has collected over 26,205 signatures that match the voter’s information on the voter roll and are considered by the campaign to be “valid.”. In case there were any mistakes, the campaign will collect as many extra signatures as possible in the final weeks before the deadline.

“Even though D.C. has ‘closed primaries,’ where only voters registered with a political party can vote for their party’s candidate, every registered voter will be able to vote on Initiative 82 because it is non-partisan,” says Nikolas Schiller, a former tipped worker and Communications Lead, who trained over 175 petition circulators over Zoom. With over 400,000 registered Democrats, DCBBRI feels that the contested primary ballot is a better reflection of D.C.’s diverse electorate.

“There are 86,861 D.C. voters who are not registered with a political party who will be able to show up to vote in June and their ballot will consist of only the yes or no question of Ballot Initiative 82,” adds Schiller. “We believe a majority of DC voters will cast a YES vote because they agree that tipped workers deserved a pay raise four years ago.”

DCCBBRI is a political campaign registered with the DC Office of Campaign Finance and is organized by current and former tipped workers in the group One Fair Wage. The campaign received major support from the Open Society Foundation, fair trade and organic body care brand Dr. Bronner’s, as well as over one thousand concerned D.C. citizens who helped collect signatures and believe in eliminating the archaic tip credit in the nation’s capital.

-###-

Click here to download a PDF of this press release


Press Release: 32BJ SIEU Endorses One Fair Wage Campaign in D.C. to Support Tipped Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 26, 2022
CONTACT: Julie Karant, 646-584-9001, jkarant@seiu32bj.org

Nation’s Largest Property Service Workers Union Endorses One Fair Wage Campaign in D.C. to Support Tipped Workers

Washington, D.C. – The following statement is attributable to Jaime Contreras, Executive Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, which represents over 175,000 members in 11 states, including over 20,000 in the D.C. area and Baltimore, MD, as the largest property service workers union in the country:

“32BJ’s property service workers, who helped lead the Fight for $15 campaign across the nation, proudly endorse the One Fair Wage campaign to ensure that D.C. restaurant workers aren’t forced to rely on tips to make up the difference for unlivable poverty wages. These unsustainable conditions drove thousands of working men and women out of the industry, after many got sick and even died keeping our economy alive during the pandemic. They were confronted with a perfect storm of few if any customers to provide tips, many who may not even know how little tipped workers earn during a time of economic uncertainty.
“32BJ members know firsthand that tipped workers can’t support themselves much less a family. Before enactment of a tipped minimum wage at National and Dulles Airports, many of 32BJ’s tipped wheelchair agents there experienced homelessness, had to skip meals and slept in the airport because they couldn’t afford rent or transportation. Workers even reported being discharged for mere allegations of soliciting tips, a practice that is forbidden for wheelchair agents.

“While every other contractor pays wheelchair agents the airport’s tipped minimum wage – the Huntleigh Corporation is the sole outlier not paying this wage. As a consequence, Huntleigh relies on disabled passenger tips to make up the difference in wages they aren’t paying workers.

“As 32BJ continues to fight to ensure the tipped minimum wage is paid to 350 Huntleigh workers at DCA and Dulles, we support the fight for tipped workers in the District.”


Click here to download a PDF of this press release

Press Release: District of Columbia Tipped Workers Close in on Hike in Base Pay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 21, 2022

PRESS CONTACT: Nikolas Schiller, 202-643-3878,
Press@BetterRestaurantsDC.org
Adam Eidinger, 202-744-2671,
adam@mintwood.com

District of Columbia Tipped Workers Close in on Hike in Base Pay

Astonishing Voter Response to Signature Drive Boosts Initiative 82 Toward Success
DC Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry Vows to Beat Feb. 22 Deadline

WASHINGTON, DC – Backers of a District of Columbia ballot initiative, which would gradually increase the base wage for tipped workers and make it the same as non-tipped workers by 2027, announced it has begun the final push to collect enough signatures to get Initiative 82 on the primary ballot with at least 23,000 valid signatures collected of the estimated 23,000 to 26,000 needed.

“Initiative 82 gives the D.C. community a powerful tool to help low wage tipped workers who want higher pay with tips on top,” said Ryan O’Leary, who filed Initiative 82, with the DC Board of Elections in June 2021. “For the sake and livelihood of tipped workers in D.C., and democracy, we cannot afford to be deterred by COVID or winter weather. We will get the collection of signatures done in the coming few weeks using 100 percent volunteers.”

The D.C. Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry (DCCBBRI) is a political campaign organized by current and former tipped workers in the group One Fair Wage with major support from the Open Society Foundation, fair trade and organic body care brand Dr. Bronner’s, as well as over one thousand concerned DC citizens who believe in eliminating the archaic tip credit in D.C.

The campaign developed a COVID-era election strategy to position itself to succeed in getting Initiative 82 on the ballot utilizing in-person collection of most signatures, including outside of free covid testing sites at public libraries and fire stations.

Seeking to muster signatures from hard to reach voters in December, DCCBBRI mailed over 13,000 D.C. voters petitions for gathering signatures required to get Initiative 82 on the ballot. Still unfolding is the total number of voters signing the petitions and mailing them back with postage paid for by the campaign. Early mail returns of signed petitions are exceeding the return rate achieved in 2020 with Initiative 81 which was 5.2 percent.

For the final stage, the campaign will be deploying unpaid, volunteer petition circulators on DC streets in targeted locations to gather enough signatures by the Feb. 22 deadline to ensure Initiative 82 gets on the primary ballot in D.C. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21.

“Although optimistic, the campaign is not taking anything for granted,” said Adam Eidinger, treasurer of the D.C. Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry as well as the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature D.C., which successfully passed Initiative 81 in November 2020. “We are closing in on our goal of 27,000 validated signatures, which we believe will exceed the 5 percent of active D.C. voters required by law. There is currently some confusion within the campaign as to what the final number of signatures will be and inquiries have been made to the DC Board of Elections. We are collecting more signatures to have a cushion to exceed higher estimates of the final number needed.”

The sign-by-mail tactic to gather ballot signatures was first deployed successfully in D.C. in the 2020 election with the passage of Initiative 81 led by the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature D.C. (which shifted enforcement of laws against natural plant medicines to the lowest D.C. law enforcement priority).

“This election cycle the campaign to raise the base wage for tipped workers has adopted Covid era tactics,’” says Communications and Training Lead Nikolas Schiller. “Fortunately, there was an overlap of activists and veteran tipped workers in both campaigns, making the direct mail tactic to getting signatures more productive due to the advantage of knowing likely signers from the sign-by-mail petitions gathered in 2020.”

Tipped workers in D.C. make a base wage of $5.05 per hour paid by employers, who are allowed to credit the first $10.15 in tips per hour to satisfy their responsibility to pay tipped workers DC’s minimum wage of $15.20 per hour over a two week pay period. So, when you leave a tip, the business owner essentially credits your tip against the amount they are required to pay their tipped workers and they are using the average per hour rate of tips made over two weeks making it possible to use Saturday night tips to pay a tipped worker on a slow Tuesday.

“In the COVID era we believe tipped workers are accepting work that puts them in harm’s way and thus deserve a reasonable expectation of actual wages that are not subject to the latest business crash or boom, but rather pay people who come to work. The campaign’s slogan is “Fair wage, with tips on top!,” says Kris Furnish, field director for DCCBBRI.

-###-

Click here to download a PDF of this press release