A sign indicating where to vote
Eric Hersman / Flickr

Ballot initiative 77, up for a vote in the June election, calls for employers to pay their tipped workers the full minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2025.  

 Currently, the minimum wage for tipped workers is only $3.33 per hour. Ridiculous. Can anyone live off that?  

 The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has advocated for fair wages nationwide. The key points we should know about workers in the restaurant industry are: 

  1. They are the largest source of sexual harassment complaints in the U.S.
  2. Women are twice as likely to live in poverty.
  3. Most tipped workers are people of color.
  4. Wage theft, via employers not topping off pay correctly, is rampant.
  5. Employees fighting for their rights are more likely to be fired.
  6. Such discrimination fuels the growth of homelessness and unfathomable poverty.

The benefits of voting for Initiative 77 would be, first and foremost, giving hard working people the right to eat, sleep and survive. 

To those of you who are so direly concerned about saving tax dollars: raising the minimum wage is the first step to helping people be self-sufficient. The ROC data proves it.  

We need this referendum, not just in Washington D.C., but for the entire United States. Vote it in, spread the word and make it the rule and norm everywhere.  

According to the D.C Board of Elections Voter Guide, Independent and minor party voters may vote on ballot initiative 77 in the June 19 primary using a special nonpartisan ballot that will only have the initiative on it.

Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor for Street Sense.