'Huge Win' for Workers as DC Council Approves $15 Minimum Wage
Heralding a new victory for the Fight for $15 movement, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, which Mayor Muriel Bowser has promised to sign.
Beyond 2020, the minimum wage will rise with inflation. “When I see how much it costs to live in Washington, D.C.—and that cost is only going up—we know that it takes more money for every household to be able to afford to live,” Bowser said during a news conference following the vote.
DC Working Families executive director and co-chair of D.C. for $15 Delvone Michael said Wednesday, “It wasn’t long ago that raising D.C.’s minimum wage to $15 seemed like a pipe dream. But when the people speak up, leaders listen. Because of dedicated grassroots organizing and a bold campaign willing to take the issue directly to the people, we’re seeing results.”
Tipped workers will receive a lesser increase, from $2.77 to $5 an hour, although it would also be tied to inflation. According to the Washington Post, this provision was included in the measure to “assuage the District’s powerful restaurant-industry lobby.”
The D.C. Council’s approval of the bill adds new momentum to the Fight for $15 movement that has already influenced policy in Seattle, New York, and California.
According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute released in March, a $15 floor would help 114,000 working people in D.C.—about 14 percent of its workforce.
During the hearing ahead of the vote, council member Vincent Orange, who co-sponsored the bill, said, “Raising the minimum wage will help address the issues of residents being pushed out of the District due to rising costs of living and income inequality.”
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