Economic Justice at Work


No one who works should be living in poverty – and every job should come with basic benefits and decent pay. But even in a wealthy city with a booming local economy, decent jobs are hard to find, and working class folks have to work multiple jobs just to get by. Meanwhile large employers and corporate associations lobby hard and spend millions to stop common-sense workplace policies that most residents support.

This category covers five votes affecting the pay and benefits of working people in DC.


To move the District in the right direction, Councilmembers needed to vote to:

Support raising the minimum wage

In 2016, the DC Council unanimously passed an increase in the hourly minimum wage from $10.50 to $15 by the end of 2019. Raising the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers was initially on the table but was dropped, and it remains at $3.33 an hour. Voters in DC will be able to raise the sub-minimum tipped wage by ballot measure in the 2018 primary election. [B21-0712]

Support fair scheduling for part-time workers

People who work hourly jobs are increasingly being asked by employers to be “on-call” or available to work, without the promise of pay, rather than having a known work schedule. This makes it very difficult to arrange childcare, get education, or hold down a second or third job. Meanwhile employers hire multiple part-time employees rather than increasing the hours available to existing staff. The Council considered a bill to require that larger employers provide a schedule in advance, pay employees for time that they are required to be available, and invest in employees by offering more hours to current employees before hiring more part-timers. The Council voted to table the bill and sided with large corporations instead of local working people. [B21-0512]

Support universal paid family and medical leave

The DC Council passed the Universal Paid Leave Act in 2016, offering paid family and medical leave to working people throughout the District. On the way to passing UPLA, the DC Council voted to reject amendments that would have weakened the program.[B21-0415] The three UPLA votes tracked here are:

  • Support final passage of the Universal Paid Leave Act
  • Oppose diverting paid family and medical leave funds to pay employers, rather than employees – this would have reimbursed employers from the paid leave fund for unspecified “hardships” experienced while employees are on leave that is paid for by the fund itself. The amendment did not pass.
  • Oppose putting control of paid family and medical leave benefits in the hands of bosses, rather than the democratically elected government – this would have gutted the universal, equitable paid family and medical leave program and instead asked employers to provide benefits, opening the door to abuse and discrimination. The amendment did not pass.