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I've Worked for Tips for Most of My Life. It's Time to Pay Us the Minimum Wage


I've Worked for Tips for Most of My Life. It's Time to Pay Us the Minimum Wage

Kate Davidson

Next week, D.C. residents will vote on whether tipped workers should make the minimum wage. The ballot measure, Initiative 77, would gradually raise the current base wage for tipped workers from $3.33 an hour, until it matches the city’s minimum wage in 2026. As far as local ballot initiatives go, this one has been contentious: the city is covered in signs, and our local press has been churning out hot takes for weeks. But people like me—people who have had to survive on tipped minimum wages—have mostly been shut out of the conversation, or too scared of their bosses to speak up.


This is wage slavery.

Again, the parties of the Duopoly support their business benefactors, not the workforce.


Kate, if I lived in DC I would absolutely support this initiative and encourage anyone living there to do the same. We as a society should have never allowed a separate min. wage to be allowed for servers in the first place. Let me also express my gratitude for what you do as a profession and apologize for the BS you put up with from the public day in and day out. I know it’s not easy, my mother was a waitress for years.


While the setting of minimum wages is a whole 'nother can of worms (see all the conflicting studies, for example, on the impact in Seattle), the notion of two classes of minimum wages because some people get “tips” has always struck me as absurd.

You’re paid to do a job. If a patron thinks the job was done exceptionally well and wants to give you something more, they can. That doesn’t excuse the business owner from paying the same minimum wage that say Walmart or 7-11 does.

A minimum wage should be uniform.


This is an excellent article and you are right. If you can’t get it, I invite you to Washington State, where tips cannot be counted as part of wage, and specifically Seattle: http://www.workingwa.org/seattle-minimum-wage/

I know asking someone who has to rely on so little to move across country is rude. You did list places all over the US though so maybe you would be open to it. I wish you the best and hope you get at least minimum where your are.


They tried something like this in Maine and had to repeal it a year later when restaurant workers revolted against the serious cut in their take-home pay.


I don’t tip my Walmart cashier, gas station attendant, or fast food cashier. I won’t tip my DC servers if it goes into effect.

BLS said servers make an average wage of 11.73, when including tips. And let’s not forget that some of that is straight, potentially tax-free, cold hard cash

Enjoy your 8 dollar minimum wage. :joy::rofl:


Having a good 10 years experience in the service industry, I support the initiative. In reading various articles online about this issue I often see owners worried they might not stay in business if they have to actually pay staff. I say, if your business model does not include paying workers, it is not a viable model.

The democratic mayor is against a living wage. She will not get my vote.


Ah, but you’re being a “purist.”



While actuals definitions and structures can be debated, that principle can never be up for debate nor compromise.


Gradual phase-ins of minimum wage increases are bogus, as are the exemptions for tipped and domestic workers. An immediate increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr. for all, with no exceptions is far from a radical proposal, considering that if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would now be $22/hr.! The Green Party emphatically endorses the fight for $15 for all, while the Republicans want to do away with the minimum wage and the Democrats dither and support the half measures and phase-ins. Please join us. Help end the two-party billionaire duopoly and help us end the Democratic Party and replace them.


No, people have a right to what they can get paid. You want more, form a union, or in the alternative, develop skills people will pay for.

No one has a “right” to a job, and no one has a “right” to any specific level of compensation. .


Yes, and oil would only be $16 a barrel, oops.


In most of Europe, restaurant workers are paid fairly, get vacation days, family leave, health insurance and pensions. No tipping…