“This will be historic, the first East Coast city – and our nation’s capital – moving forward with a living wage,” said Meg Fosque, national policy director for the New York-based Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which has joined the D.C. coalition. “This would show a real shift toward the people … fair pay and livable wages disproportionately affect women and people of color.”
And families too, said Delvone Michael, Director of D.C. Working Families, a group backed by a range of labor unions and social justice advocates that is helping to lead the ballot measure fight.
“D.C. is among the richest cities in the country, and we have an opportunity to make things right,” Michael said. “People who work 40 hours a week shouldn’t be on public assistance, they should be able to take their kids out to ice cream and not live paycheck to paycheck.”
The D.C. ballot measure would mirror Seattle in phasing in a flat, $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2019. That would be 30 percent higher than the $11.50-per-hour rate that the D.C. Council and mayor backed last year.
The ballot measure would also for the first time force D.C. restaurants to pay workers a minimum wage plus tips, as in San Francisco. Currently, restaurants in D.C. are required only to pay $2.77 per hour, so long as tips bring waiters up to the equivalent of minimum wage or more.
This blog strongly endorses this effort and I will be volunteeing my efforts to help collect signatures for it.