Contact: Tim Rusch,, 917.399.0236

Washington D.C. City Council Votes Against One Fair Wage,  Approves Compromised Wage Deal on the Backs of Tipped Workers

D.C. City Council Approves Mayor Bowser’s $15 Wage Proposal, Which Leaves Nearly 29,000 of the District’s Tipped Workers Behind

Poll: 78 percent of D.C. voters would support a ballot initiative to fix the omission of tipped workers from the full $15 minimum wage

The following is a statement from Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United: 

Washington, D.C. – “Today, the Washington D.C. City Council voted against one fair wage for the District’s tipped workers when it raised the non-tipped minimum to $15. While this is a positive step for many workers in the area, this deal was made on the backs of over 29,000 hard working women and men, and many people of color, in the restaurant industry. These workers experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of other D.C. workers. Nine out of ten of D.C.’s tipped restaurant workers experience some kind of sexual harassment on the job because of their subminimum wage status. This wage deal, carved in backrooms with the help of the National Restaurant Association, is a disgrace for Washington D.C.

“We oppose any deal or compromise that excludes tipped workers from a full $15 minimum wage. As reported in anew poll, the people of DC support a ballot initiative to ensure that tipped workers are paid the full $15 minimum wage.We’re continuing to gather signatures and will fight for the District’s tipped workers until we have achieved one fair minimum wage for all workers.”

Note to Journalists:
Many prominent local employers—including Florida Avenue Grill owner, Imar Hutchins, and Busboys and Poets owner, Andy Shallal—have come out publicly for One Fair Wage. Hutchins said, “The reason why I support minimum wage legislation with elimination of the tipped minimum wage is that it is easier if it is legislated because then it is something that [the whole industry] has to deal with together.”

Read the report, “The Case for Eliminating the Tipped Minimum Wage in Washington, D.C.” can be found  here.

Additionally, 25 organizations have signed onto a letter urging Mayor Bowser and D.C. legislatures to establish one fair wage for the city’s tipped workers. That letter can be found HERE.


Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to 18,000 worker-members across over 15 states, in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $10 million in stolen tips and wages.