Leaders of a ballot referendum effort have reached an agreement with Mayor Muriel Bowser and the City Council which will lead to a $15/hour minimum wage by 2020 – but not for tipped workers.
The District’s largest labor unions say they have struck a deal with members of the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to abandon a minimum-wage ballot measure fight if the council on Tuesday approves a $15 minimum wage for most workers.
Under the deal, the nation’s capital would join New York and California in a vanguard of states boosting low-wage pay to try to combat growing income inequality.
The District’s hourly minimum, now $10.50, would rise to $15 by 2020. After that, annual increases would be automatic and tied to inflation, as unions have wanted. But to assuage the District’s powerful restaurant-industry lobby, D.C. lawmakers have demanded that tipped workers’ pay rise by a smaller amount.
Tipped workers’ base rate would increase from $2.77 an hour to $5 an hour and would be tied to inflation. Employers in the District would also remain responsible for paying employees the difference between their base pay and minimum wage if tips do not make up the balance.
Somewhat disappointing to see tipped workers get left holding the bag as usual, but the restaurant industry is very powerful in DC. But otherwise, this is a huge victory for labor.
One wonders what impact this will have on efforts to increase the minimum wage in Montgomery County, which was part of a regional compact with DC to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017. [UPDATE] Councilmember Marc Elrich notes that he has proposed a bill to increase the minimum wage in MoCo to $15, and the bill has four co-sponsors. I was aware of this, although I did not know the bill will have a public hearing on June 21. The lack of a majority of the Council as co-sponsors is troubling given the bumpy road that the 2013 bill encountered with a majority. Here’s hoping it passes without serious weakening, but that remains to be seen.]
And more evidence – as if it were needed – that Maryland’s 2014 increase to $10.10 by 2018 (!) was and remains woefully insufficient.