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DC Ballot Initiative 77 - Eliminating the Tipped Minimum Wage - Vote Is on June 19, 2018


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Yes appears to be cruising to an easy win with about a 7,000 vote lead (55% v 45%) with 89.5% reporting.  (Posting at 9:35pm)

Washington Post calls it, Yes for the win. (Posting at 9:53)

From what I could tell, the Yes vote jumped out to an early 5,000 vote lead and gained support throughout the evening. 

Yes organizers are concerned the City Council and Mayor Bowser will step in, most of the Council and Mayor are against 77...so it may not be over yet.

We shall see.

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3 hours ago, Tweaked said:

Yes appears to be cruising to an easy win with about a 7,000 vote lead (55% v 45%) with 89.5% reporting.  (Posting at 9:35pm)

Washington Post calls it, Yes for the win. (Posting at 9:53)

I wasn't going to say this before the vote, but I figured it would win in a landslide. People *hate* tipping, and ultimately, they vote with their pocketbook.

To servers, bartenders, etc. - Do not panic: If this is an "all-or-nothing" change (which it absolutely *must* be to work), diners will still dine. 

Any diner with a brain will realize that the *total cost* of dining out will be the same, and not hesitate to go from the suburbs into DC. The ones without brains tend to stay close to home.

In the long term, this is a net positive for the industry. Short term, I'm not so sure, but long term, servers and bartenders will now be treated as *professionals* which is exactly how they should be treated.

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The recession is on its way (although who knows if it will be in one year, or five years), so that will affect things, but that's a separate issue from this (you'll be able to tell by Virginia and Maryland restaurants closing as well).

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In the year 2030, I want people to look back at this, and they'll realize it benefitted everyone. For what it's worth, I really am sorry for the people who will be casualties in the short term - this is exactly why I refused to comment on the issue: It was with your well-being in mind - you, the people who have nurtured me through years of hardship. Yes, I care, and yes, I'll still take care of you.

Question: If diners decide to tip now, is there any reason *NOT* to tip in cash? Before, there was a reason not to: Restaurateurs *hated* it when people tipped in cash; now, that may no longer be the case, since 100% of tips will hopefully go to the servers and bartenders (I'm not sure about this, because I purposely didn't read the proposition). 

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"DC Voters Approve Initiative To Approve Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers to $15" by Paul Schwartzman and Fenil Nirappil on washingtonpost.com

From the article:

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"District voters on Tuesday embraced a ballot initiative that threatens to roil the city’s flourishing restaurant industry, voting to raise the minimum wage to $15 for servers and other workers who largely rely on tips to earn a living.

But the District’s political leadership has expressed opposition to Initiative 77, as the measure is known, and restaurant owners and workers are expected to pressure the D.C. Council to halt its enactment even though it passed 55 to 44 percent."

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Do any voters need me to translate this for them?

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More from the City Paper:

"The debate over Initiative 77 isn’t necessarily over. Because of its unique relationship with the District, Congress has a chance to interfere with the measure during its 30-day review period for D.C. legislation. (Both the House and the Senate would have to adopt what’s known as a concurrent resolution disapproving of the initiative to kill or amend it, and it’s unclear whether a sufficient number of members would support such a move.)

Even if Congress doesn’t act, the D.C. Council could overturn the measure as lawmakers did in 2001 when they repealed term limits that voters had previously approved. Leading up to Tuesday’s vote, a supermajority of the 13-member Council, Attorney General Karl Racine, and Mayor Muriel Bowser said they opposed Initiative 77. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who was against the measure, has declined to say whether the Council would seek to overturn or tweak the provisions of the initiative.

There is precedent for overturning such a ballot initiative. The same national organization that got Initiative 77 on the ballot in D.C., Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC), used the same approach in Maine. But after the referendum passed, the state overturned it. The November 2016 referendum would have gradually raised the tipped minimum wage from $3.75 to $12 in 2024."

Map of vote break down

DC Board of Election website, with precinct breakdowns, if you want to get into the weeds.

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3 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Based on discussions in this forum, I didn't see this result coming.  But upon reflection, the result made sense.  Heck, the city re-elected Marion Barry after his drug conviction. 

I honestly don't understand what connection you're trying to make here with the reference to reelecting Marion Barry.  

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15 minutes ago, washingtony said:

I honestly don't understand what connection you're trying to make here with the reference to reelecting Marion Barry.  

[I hear you washingtony, but let's please just write this off as a bad joke and call it a day - no sense in going deeper with this. (Obviously, I would have deleted the post if it hadn't contained the first two sentences). Cheers, Don]

I find this picture of the Ward breakdown fascinating:

Screenshot 2018-06-20 at 15.39.08.png

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Todd Kliman opines: "Those cocktails that’re overpriced rn at $14? Soon enough they’ll be going for $18.And you’ll be lucky to find apps below $16 at anywhere decent. Entrees? $36-$40 easy. Initiative 77 is gonna make restos even more a place for those with $$$ ..."

Well, after crunching some numbers, if a patron orders a $14 cocktail and leaves a 20% gratuity, they are paying just on the cusp of $17.  A $30 entree after 20% gratuity is $36.  And so on.  Adjusted for inflation and assuming that current restaurants are still open by 2026, the raise will be negligible.  It is fascinating how little the affluent are willing to pay to support a fellow resident of the area (and the cost of quality), unless it is on their capricious terms. Patrons and restaurant owners should focus their ire directly towards greedy landlords.

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The more I have thought about this, the more I believe that the "no" campaign was misleading astroturf by corporate interests, aided by some successful employees who have learned to navigate the current system well and who feared what their bosses might do to them in a new system, all targeted at the worst impulses of prosperous pseudo-liberal DC.

We were all led to understand, for one thing, that it was "about" restaurants and bars when - as far as I can understand by some digging - it actually goes broader than that. (Think of nail salons, valet parkers, etc., and wonder whether employees in those industries are being treated as fairly as you hope that your favorite bartender or waiter in a fancy restaurant is being treated.) We were all led to understand that it would somehow lead to a decrease in compensation for those bar and restaurant employees who have been clearing a good compensation package through tips - when there is no reason for anybody without advanced econ training and lots of data to make any such assumption. (There is no inherent reason why now-tipped employees, individually or collectively, would be willing to do the same work for lesser compensation; it would be up to employees and employers to work within the new laws to reach a new equilibrium.)

Part of me thinks that perhaps the unspoken thing is that the current system gives employers in tipped industries some hidden tax subsidy that is not available to other industries, like they don't have to pay full employer FICA on tips or something?

Mainly, it shows that so many of us lucky west-of-rock-creek (white) people are fearful of changing the arbitrary systems that we have grown up with, especially when Rick Berman tells us that it might cost us a few dollars.

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6 hours ago, sheldman said:

Mainly, it shows that so many of us lucky west-of-rock-creek (white) people are fearful of changing the arbitrary systems that we have grown up with, especially when Rick Berman tells us that it might cost us a few dollars.

You might enjoy the MinimumWage.com video.

Oh, and don't forget the Fracking video. Gee, I worked with the EPA for almost 25 years, and I don't ever remember "the EPA" saying fracking is safe; on the other hand, I haven't been there lately. Also, I have a logic question: Is "not concluding something is dangerous" the same as "concluding something is safe?"

You know, I haven't concluded that pesticides are killing honeybees.

There was a point when nobody had concluded that DDT was killing the bald eagles.

Even still ...

Dec 13, 2016 - "EPA Changes Its Stand on Fracking, Says It Can Harm Drinking Water in Certain Circumstances" by Chelsea Harvey on washingtonpost.com

From EPA's Q&A about fracking:

Q: Why did EPA remove “no evidence of widespread, systemic impacts” from the assessment?
A: EPA’s scientists included the following sentence in the 2015 draft assessment report: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”  That sentence was included in a section of the draft assessment report that also highlighted various limitations due to uncertainties and data gaps.

After receiving comments from the SAB, EPA scientists concluded that the sentence could not be quantitatively supported.  Contrary to what the sentence implied, uncertainties prevent EPA from estimating the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle.  Additionally, EPA scientists and the SAB, came to the conclusions that the sentence did not clearly communicate the findings of the report. 

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1 hour ago, Pool Boy said:

If the DC Council does not kill this, I suspect that the US Congress will. Just a guess.

Based on what law or principle? (I'm not questioning you; just seeking clarification of your thought process.)

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Based on what law or principle? (I'm not questioning you; just seeking clarification of your thought process.)

How The Law Is Written and Passed in Washington, DC, by Tom MacWright, on macwright.org.

Quote

The DC home rule law passed in 1973 gives Congress ultimate power over DC’s lawmaking. Every proposed law must sit in Congress for up to 30 days, and Congress can pass a resolution effectively vetoing it, if they wish. In practice, this power has only been used a handful of times, and in reality this period is often well over thirty days, since it doesn’t include weekends or Congress’s closures and breaks.

 

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On 6/23/2018 at 3:10 PM, DonRocks said:

Based on what law or principle? (I'm not questioning you; just seeking clarification of your thought process.)

Don: Here's an article that explains the City Council's vote from a Libertarian perspective:

"With its vote on Tuesday, the D.C. City Council did what elected officials in a representative democracy are supposed to do: act as a check." 

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Interesting article about House attempt to eliminate the concept of a tipped minimum wage - apologies as it's behind a paywall.  While I was not (and am not) supportive of doing this at a local level, I do think the idea has merit at the national level.  Could we move away from a tipping culture in the US and simply pay people for doing their jobs well?

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3 hours ago, dcs said:

$15-minimum wage hike is hitting, hurting NYC restaurants, by Jennifer Gould Keil, September 29, 2019, on nypost.com.

There are about 24,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone and the New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed 324.

So customers are ok paying $17 +$3 tip but the idea of charging $20 and eliminating tips is somehow unpalatable?  Americans seem to like the idea of free shipping with the shipping cost factored into the retail price.  How are restaurants in countries that don't rely on tipping able to stay in business?

To rely on tips when making $8/hr in Manhattan is medieval, assuming the kitchen staff got tipped.

“We started by having to let go of the ladies who hand-made our tortillas. It’s certainly better when you can make your tortillas fresh for every taco,” Nat Milner said. “It made sense at $8 an hour but not at $15.”

 

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1 hour ago, Poivrot Farci said:

There are about 24,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone and the New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed 324.

So customers are ok paying $17 +$3 tip but the idea of charging $20 and eliminating tips is somehow unpalatable?  Americans seem to like the idea of free shipping with the shipping cost factored into the retail price.  How are restaurants in countries that don't rely on tipping able to stay in business?

To rely on tips when making $8/hr in Manhattan is medieval, assuming the kitchen staff got tipped.

“We started by having to let go of the ladies who hand-made our tortillas. It’s certainly better when you can make your tortillas fresh for every taco,” Nat Milner said. “It made sense at $8 an hour but not at $15.”

These moves make no sense (IMO) until back and front of the house are paid equitably.  These moves just make the more highly paid FOH even more highly paid and leave the back of the house massively underpaid.

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