Hillary Clinton is urging Portlanders to vote ‘yes’ on Question D, the citizen referendum that would increase the minimum wage to $18 per hour by 2025 and eliminate the tip credit.

“Too many people are being priced out of Portland and so many other places because they can’t afford to both live and work in that wonderful city,” the former Democratic U.S. senator from New York, secretary of state and presidential candidate says in a new social media ad from the group One Fair Wage Portland.

“Raising the minimum wage to $18 per hour would raise wages for 20,000 hardworking people in Portland alone, including the tipped workers like taxi drivers, gig workers, domestic workers and, of course, restaurant workers,” Clinton says. “You have the opportunity to make sure every worker in Portland receives a stable, livable wage.”

The 45-second ad is posted on One Fair Wage Portland’s website and also appears on the group’s Twitter page.

“It’s very clear that One Fair Wage is throwing everything against the wall at this point to see what will stick,” said Joshua Chaisson, a server at the Porthole and a spokesperson for Restaurant Industry United, which opposes Question D. “They’ve replaced their ability to garner local worker support and local restaurant worker support with Secretary Clinton weighing in on Question D here in Portland.”

One Fair Wage Portland is advocating for passage of Question D and is affiliated with the national One Fair Wage movement, which seeks to end the sub-minimum wage nationwide and improve working conditions, especially in the service industry.


Mike Sylvester, an outgoing Democratic state representative from Peaks Island and board member at One Fair Wage, said Friday that Question D is drawing national attention because ending sub-minimum wages – hourly pay that is below the minimum for certain categories of workers – is not unique to Portland.

In a measure similar to Portland’s, voters in Washington, D.C., next month will be asked to consider Initiative 82, which would phase out the tipped wage by 2027.

“The movement to remove sub-minimum wages from wage laws is a national movement. It’s not just something that was created here in Portland,” Sylvester said.

“One of the most important issues in Portland is finding workers and I strongly believe that with one fair wage and an $18 minimum that employers will be in a stronger position to find and retain workers,” he added.

Opponents of Question D have mainly focused on the elimination of the tip credit, which allows employers of tipped workers to pay less than the minimum wage so long as the difference is made up in tips.

Tipped workers in Portland currently make at least $6.50 an hour, plus tips. Some restaurants pay a higher hourly wage. The city’s minimum wage is currently $13 and is scheduled to increase to $15 by 2024.

“The tip credit law guarantees we make the full minimum wage,” Chaisson said. “Folks on our side have said we don’t oppose an $18 minimum wage or an increase to the minimum wage. We oppose tip credit elimination.”

Opponents say eliminating the tip credit would hurt service industry workers and could lead to increased costs for restaurants, a move toward counter service, automation and other unintended consequences.

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