Washington, D.C. – Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (Ward 5) has issued the following statement on the “Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018” [B22-0913]:
“Over the course of my career, I have worked to protect the rights of some of our most vulnerable residents and I do not take the decision to repeal Initiative 77 lightly. Our work at the Council is often quite challenging, requiring members to consider all sides of an issue to make informed decisions.
In my role as Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, I must weigh the concerns of residents and businesses and must carefully evaluate how policy affects our city’s workforce and overall economic growth.
My decision to support repeal of Initiative 77 is informed by conversations with tipped workers in Ward 5 and across the city. Whether you are a server at a high-end restaurant or a valet at a local hotel—the fact remains that if Initiative 77 was enacted, there would have been detrimental effects on working people, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs.
At the same time, there are real problems with wage theft, sexual harassment, and discrimination. The legislation voted on yesterday was the result of a collaboration crafted with my colleagues and tipped workers and thoughtfully addresses these aforementioned concerns by: mandating the use of a third-party payroll system; creating an online wage theft portal for employees to file complaints; requiring annual sexual harassment training for owners and managers; and creation of a tipped workers coordinating council that will conduct anonymous case reviews to investigate claims of wage violations for tipped workers.
Equally important, given my leadership on addressing racial inequities in the District of Columbia, I must also address the gross mischaracterization that our decision on Initiative 77 was equivalent to black voter suppression. Given my previous experience as a civil rights attorney, I am always sensitive to ensuring that all of my actions and decisions are shaped with a goal to promote equitable outcomes. This is evidenced by my work on the Council. I have introduced, championed, or enacted measures such as the:
- Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act of 2015
- Comprehensive Youth Justice Amendment Act of 2016
- Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act of 2016
- Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016
- Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014
- Sense of the Council on Establishing Race, Equity, and Social Justice Resolution of 2017
- Charles Hamilton Houston & Other Diverse Washingtonians Commemorative Works Amendment Act of 2017
- Diversity in Fund Management Amendment Act of 2017
I appreciate all of the feedback from those who have contacted my office as well as everyone who testified at the September 17 hearing to voice their opinions about this important issue. I look forward to continuing to create an environment where our diverse residents, employees, and businesses can thrive in the District of Columbia.”