WASHINGTON - A battle over tips in the District is days away from being decided in the primary election. A look at the ballot Initiative 77 and why it's dividing those in the service industry.
Signs are being posted all around the District. The initiative is on the primary ballot in the district about tips and wages for workers and it has caused debate and confusion.
A vote 'yes' on Initiative 77, which was put on the ballot by a New York-based restaurant nonprofit, would mean that restaurant and bar openers would have to pay each tip worker the minimum wage of $12.50, and go up to $15 by 2020. Right now they can pay workers $3.33 and they make up the difference with tips.
Supporters argue that the effort would mean a higher and equal wage for tipped work others. But many restaurant owners and even workers say they are fine the way things are. Some say they make well above the minimum wage anyway. But, if Initiative 77 passes, owners say their costs will skyrocket and may cost them to cut jobs. Bringing everyone to an equal wage will benefit women and minorities and help fight off sexual harassment.