By Brianna McAdoo, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
Community organizers are furiously working on gaining support as they take to the streets with the Save our Vote petition, which would give D.C. voters the power to put the controversial Referendum 8 on the ballot and take action on Initiative 77.
A campaign was launched by the Save Our Vote Referendum committee on Dec. 4 in hopes of empowering D.C. voters to make the final decision on Initiative 77 and overturn its repeal. The pressure is on as organizers work their hardest to get 24,993 signatures by December 12 at 4:45 p.m. The Save Our Vote campaign is spearheading the efforts in solidarity and in support of Tipped workers and the greater Washington community who are disgruntled at the D.C. Council’s decision to repeal Initiative 77.
“Nearly 50,000 D.C. voters went to the polls in June to support One Fair Wage. Voters – not D.C. Council or industry lobbyists – will have the final say on whether D.C. joins the seven U.S. states where tipped workers make the full minimum wage plus tips,” said ROC-DC organizer Candace Cunningham.
Some people who work in the industry agree with the Council and don’t want to see Initiative 77 go into fruition. Nadia a hostess at MatchBox restaurant weighed in on the new initiative.
“Initiative 77 sounds more harmful than helpful for D.C. workers/ residents that rely on tips. Even though right now the money they’re making per day is never a set amount, their employer is required to make sure they meet minimum wage anyway so it seems like the system in place now allows for workers to make a lot more money through tipping then they would otherwise. If anything maybe the tipping wage should be raised,” she told the AFRO.
Damani, a former server at El Centro, shared a different opinion about the initiative.
“Establishment [restaurant] owners tend to negate from the beneficial aspects of Initiative 77 due to it’s supposed “threatening” policies, if it were to be implemented. From personal experience, prior to the actual vote on initiative 77 my most recent manager would christen every Saturday morning brunch with a quick pep talk, never falling short of mentioning the drastic measures they would face if this initiative were to be implemented,” said Damani. “However, at the end of the day this initiative is a means to uplift and empower an entire demographic of individuals (tipped workers) who’ve continuously been neglected to receive a decent wage. People shouldn’t have to uphold multiple jobs to support themselves or families. So voting yes would be voting yes for more opportunities, empowerment and financial stability.”
While there are many conflicting opinions on the way forward for tipped workers in D.C., the Save Our Vote committee is committed to their cause. According to the @SaveOurVoteDC Twitter account, there are approximately 175 petitions circulating throughout the District that they are urgently trying to get community support and signatures on. District residents can also sign the petition between 7am and 10pm at their campaign office, located at 1100 Florida Ave. NW on the second floor.