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D.C. votes to to increase minimum wage for tipped workers

A waitress takes orders at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.
A waitress takes orders at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Voters in Washington, D.C. approved a ballot initiative, known as Initiative 77, Tuesday that will gradually increase the $3.33 “tipped wage” for restaurant servers and bartenders to match the city’s minimum wage, currently $12.50 per hour, by 2026.

Why it matters: D.C. has become the latest battleground over minimum wage for tipped workers in the restaurant industry. The industry, which opposes the measure, argues that the initiative would force businesses to cut employee hours, pay, and jobs. But advocates and labor rights groups say it will help workers who are currently at greater risk of wage theft, and that they would no longer have to rely on tips from customers as a steady income. 

What's next: The city's minimum wage is set to increase to $15 an hour by 2020. Raises in the minimum wage are set to be linked Consumer Price Index starting in 2021.

Go deeper: The consequences of D.C.’s tipped wage vote

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