At 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, a group of tipped workers and advocates with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and its local chapter ROC-DC will be delivering a proclamation to Mayor Muriel Bowser at the DC City Council (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.) ROC-DC is calling on Mayor Bowser to include tipped workers in her pending proposed legislation to raise the District’s minimum wage or let the people of D.C. decide the issue by voting on the recently approved ballot initiative spearheaded by the DC for $15 coalition, in light of a recent wave of fair-wage legislation. This event will be held in conjunction with a series of activities for the Democracy Spring, which is calling attention to the influence of corporate money in politics.
Participants will then demonstrate at the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Public Affairs Conference around the corner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The NRA has called its annual public affairs conference a “high stakes” gathering in an election year and due to a growing national movement for raising the minimum wage.
This month marks 25 years since the last change in the federal minimum wage for tipped employees, when it was increased from $2.09 to just $2.13 per hour in 1991. In 1996, under the leadership of Herman Cain, the NRA negotiated with Congress to support an increase to the full minimum wage as long as the tipped minimum wage remained frozen at $2.13. This two-tiered system of a frozen, lower minimum wage for tipped employees applies to nearly 4.5 million workers across the country.