Metro D.C. DSA Endorses Ballot Initiative 82 to Raise the Tipped Minimum Wage in D.C.


Metro D.C. DSA Endorses Ballot Initiative 82 to Raise the Tipped Minimum Wage in D.C.

DATE: December 20, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) recently voted by unanimous consent to endorse Initiative 82, a ballot initiative that will be up for a vote on June 21, 2022.
Initiative 82 aims to raise D.C.’s tipped minimum wage to full parity with the regular minimum wage, increasing it from $5.05 per hour plus tips to $15.20 per hour plus tips by 2027. The current subminimum wage system keeps many tipped workers in poverty and puts them at risk of exploitation, sexual harassment, and wage theft. Raising the tipped wage would improve the lives of tipped workers, increase their financial stability, and reduce gender and racial pay disparities. Over the past several months, labor conditions have been shifting across the country, as evidenced by historic strikes, walkouts, and unionization efforts. Initiative 82 is a natural continuation of this worker-led movement and would represent a huge material win for working people in D.C.

In 2018, Metro D.C. DSA organized around Initiative 77, a similar ballot initiative that passed with 55 percent of the citywide vote. The initiative received widespread support, particularly with people of color and working-class voters, with every ward except Ward 3 voting in favor. Initiative 77 faced intense opposition from the restaurant lobby and was ultimately overturned by the council. Since then, the composition of the council has shifted to represent more of the progressive left in D.C. Councilmember Christina Henderson and DSA member and Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, for example, have both publicly expressed their support for the former Initiative 77. With Zachary Parker, DSA-endorsed candidate for Ward 5, also publicly supporting Initiative 82, the tipped minimum wage initiative is likely to have majority support on council.

Our chapter is excited to support Initiative 82, and we look forward to campaigning on behalf of a ballot initiative that would radically improve the lives of working-class people in the metro D.C. region.