Washington D.C. Minimum Wage Initiative (November 2014)

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A Washington D.C. Minimum Wage Initiative did not make the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the District of Columbia.

The chief organization behind the initiative was called the D.C. Working Families Coalition, which launched late in 2013, and includes many unions and labor organizations.[1]

The organization announced its ballot initiative effort in November of 2013. The Coalition needed 22,608 valid signatures by July 7, 2014, to qualify its initiative for the ballot. They did not meet this requirement. If this measure had been approved, it would have raised the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour, from the current $8.25 per hour, by 2017. It would also have raised the minimum hourly base-wage of tipped workers from $2.75 per hour to $8.75 per hour.[2]

The D.C. Working Families Coalition, along with several other union groups and activists, discussed plans to target future elections with a similar measure.[3]

Support

Supporters

The coalition behind the initiative was called D.C. Working Families and consisted of:[1]

  • Local 25 of UNITE HERE, the hotel workers union;
  • locals 32BJ and 1199 of the Service Employees International Union; and
  • Local 657 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America
  • Jews United for Justice
  • Our D.C

"Can't Survive on $8.25": An Our DC video

Arguments in favor

The Rev. George Gilbert of Holy Trinity United Baptist: "We are the nation's capital, but we are becoming the capital of inequality. We have become a city that boasts about the amount of new residents ... while the folks who have been here are being thrown away."[4]

Opposition

Arguments against

Some of the most outspoken critics argued that this measure would have been devastating to the local restaurant and bar industries, while not helping people in need. These opponents pointed to provisions in the proposed initiative that would have applied the minimum wage to all hospitality and wait staff workers - not counting tips - as well as other minimum wage workers. In 2014, tipped workers were paid a base pay of a minimum of $2.77 per hour, with the rest of their compensation consisting of tips. The new initiative would have required restaurant and bar owners to pay waiters, waitresses and bar tenders $8.75 per hour in base pay, with tips on top of that. Opponents argued that the waiter and bar tender jobs were, in fact, very lucrative and that the initiative would have given a large raise to employees that already made at least minimum wage, if not two or three times minimum wage. They said that this extra expense would have disrupted the job market in the city, potentially destroyed the great tradition of tipping and put many small, independent restaurants and bars in danger of closing down.[5]

Background

City council

The City council unanimously approved its own minimum wage ordinance, raising the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour, a dollar lower than the proposed initiative would have established.[6]

Polls

D.C. Working Families commissioned a poll of 606 voters in November of 2013, asking about support for a $12.50 per hour minimum wage and a tipped worker minimum wage of $8.75 per hour. Primary responses showed 74 percent in favor. When the opposing argument that a wage hike could likely hurt small businesses and some employees, especially young people of color, was presented, the support decreased, but only to 65 percent.[7]

In a statement responding to the results of the polls, the executive vice president of D.C. Working Families, Delvone Michael, said, "It's no surprise that powerful corporations want to pull the minimum wage proposal downward. And sadly, it's no surprise that some of our politicians are listening to them, instead of the people they represent who overwhelmingly support a minimum wage of $12.50 according to new polling. Luckily, next year, the people of the District will have a chance to make their voices heard."[7]

Similar measures

Local

Approveda City of Oakland Minimum Wage Increase Initiative, Measure FF (November 2014)
Approveda City of San Francisco Minimum Wage Increase Referred Measure, Proposition J (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Eureka "Fair Wage Act" Minimum Wage Initiative, Measure R (November 2014)
Approveda Raise Wisconsin minimum wage increase advisory referendums
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Diego $12 per Hour Minimum Wage Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Diego $13.09 per Hour Minimum Wage Measure (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Las Cruces Minimum Wage Increase Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Washington D.C. Minimum Wage Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Seattle $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Increase Veto Referendum (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Seattle $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Francisco Minimum Wage Act of 2014 Initiative (November 2014)
Approveda Philadelphia Minimum Wage Ordinance, Proposition 1 (May 2014)
Approveda City of Chicago $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Referendum (March 2014)
Approveda SeaTac "Good Jobs Initiative", Proposition 1 (November 2013)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Richmond Minimum Wage Increase Ballot Question (November 2014)

Statewide

Approveda Alaska Minimum Wage Increase, Ballot Measure 3 (2014)
Approveda Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative (2014)
Approveda South Dakota Increased Minimum Wage, Initiated Measure 18 (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot California Minimum Wage Supplement for Home Health Workers (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Idaho Minimum Wage Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Massachusetts Minimum Wage Increase Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Michigan Minimum Wage Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Missouri Minimum Wage Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot New Mexico Minimum Wage Amendment (2014)


See also

External links

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References