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Battle over Ohio minimum wage heats up

Both Democrats and Republicans in the Ohio statehouse voice support for increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 but one difference remains – its impact on workers who also earn through tips.

A ballot initiative that would increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 led to a counter proposal from the state GOP that would do the same. The difference? According to Axios Columbus, “The ballot initiative includes tipped workers, like waiters. The GOP bill, backed by the state’s restaurant industry, doesn’t.”

Back in 2022, a political action committee, Raise the Wage Ohio, announced it was collecting signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. If passed, the amendment would increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 for all workers at the beginning of 2026. Workers who do not receive tips now have a $10.45 minimum wage while tipped workers have a  $5.25 minimum wage. Both are adjusted annually.

Ohio Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance CEO John Barker told WEWS-TV his organization doesn’t support the amendment.

“They don’t want to see the tip wage eliminated. It’s so critical to their business,” he told the Cleveland-area TV station. He went on to say that such an increase in minimum wage would directly result in increased menu prices at a time when inflation is already soaring.

Mariah Ross, who is directing the Raise the Wage Ohio campaign, told Axios the organization believes tipping should continue but that waitstaff should also be paid $15 an hour.

“What we want is $15 plus tips,” Ross told Axios. “In any world, $15 plus tips is more than $5.25 plus tips.”

 

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