Earlier this year, thousands of Black voters across the District voted overwhelmingly to pass Initiative 77, a ballot measure which would gradually raise the tipped minimum wage, which is currently just $3.89/hr, to the regular minimum wage of $15/hr PLUS tips for tipped workers in D.C.. Initiative 77 passed in the District with 56% of the vote, with the highest support coming from DC’s Blackest and lowest income neighborhoods.1 But the mayor and a majority of the D.C. city council are working at the behest of the wealthy restaurant industry to shut down Initiative 77 before it’s implemented, effectively throwing out tens of thousands of Black votes.2
That’s why Color of Change is placing full-page ads in DC papers demanding the mayor and the council respect the will of Black voters – and letting them know that DC’s Black workers deserve more than poverty wages. But we need to raise $10,000 to make sure the ads run in the key local papers–can you chip in $4?
We know that in the District of Columbia, 66% of restaurant workers are people of color, with 53% of them being women. Due to the racism in the restaurant industry, Black women are significantly more likely to be excluded from the highest paying restaurants3 and waitresses in cities with lower tipped wages are twice as likely to experience sexual harassment on the job.4 These findings correlate to comments we’ve received directly from D.C. tipped workers who describe the sexual and racial harassment they’re subjected to in order to ensure they’ll get a good tip and don’t leave their shift feeling like they worked for free.
This is why Color Of Change is placing full page ads in the Washington City Paper and East of the River this Saturday demanding that the D.C. city council respect the will of the voters and let Initiative 77 stand.
Tipped workers have already told us that earning a fair wage would provide them and their families with more stability and help them deal with rising housing costs in a rapidly gentrifying city. Currently in D.C., a worker earning $13.25/hr would need to work 91 hours to be able to afford a one bedroom apartment at the market rate.5 In a city whose residents are already disenfranchised in Congress, it’s unconscionable that the mayor and city council would ignore the will of the voters and throw out the results of a fair and democratic election. Tipped workers deserve better. The residents of D.C. deserve better.
Until justice is real,
–Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Jade, Evan, Johnny, Future, Corina, Chad, Mary, Saréya, Angela, Eesha, Samantha and the rest of the Color Of Change team
- “D.C. Just Voted To End The Tipped Minimum Wage, But The Battle Isn’t Over”, HuffPost, 6 June 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77485?t=9&akid=17732%2E1174326%2EMiqhR5
- “Majority of D.C. Council moves to overturn tipped-wage ballot measure”, Washington Post, 10 July 2018 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77484?t=11&akid=17732%2E1174326%2EMiqhR5
- “The Stark Racial Divide In Pay For Restaurant Workers”, NPR, 22 October 2015 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/37758?t=13&akid=17732%2E1174326%2EMiqhR5
- “Why Sexual Harassment Rates Are So High In the Restaurant Industry”, CityLab, 21 November 2017 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/83349?t=15&akid=17732%2E1174326%2EMiqhR5
- “Out of Reach 2018: District of Columbia”, National Low Income Housing Coalition http://act.colorofchange.org/go/77486?t=17&akid=17732%2E1174326%2EMiqhR5