Thank you for publishing “Reaching the tipping point in Washington, D.C.” (Web, April 30). As a tipped wage employee, I can offer further perspective on how harmful Initiative 77 will be for people like me. Primarily it would result in reduced wages for formerly tipped employees, as Rick Berman’s piece points out. Yet the end of the tipped wage system may also affect service.
I am originally from Ukraine and have been working as a server in the United States since 2015. I can honestly say that, from what I have seen in my travels across Europe and Asia, the U.S. restaurant industry delivers one of the best customer-service experiences. I truly believe that this is due to one thing: Tipping.
What’s more, the tipped wage system is at the heart of what makes restaurant work a viable and even profitable career. You might be surprised to learn that on average tipped employees in Washington make between $20 and $40 an hour with tips. This is hardly an oppressive wage. I resent the Restaurant Opportunities Center, the outside entity behind Initiative 77, coming to Washington to tell tipped wage employees what’s best for us. I am voting “No”on Initiative 77.