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Election Day Results in Minimum Wage Boosts for Restaurant Workers

Arkansas and Missouri pass minimum wage ballot measures, and other food-related election results

Voters Across The Country Head To The Polls For The Midterm Elections Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Voters in Arkansas and Missouri resoundingly approved ballot measures that will increase minimum wage for low-paid workers, including those in the restaurant industry.

Missouri’s Proposition B, which passed with 62 percent of the vote, will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.85 per hour to $12 per hour by 2023. Arkansas’s Issue 5, which passed with 68 percent of the vote, will increase wages from $8.50 an hour to $11 an hour by 2021. Neither measure will affect restaurant workers, such as servers, who receive the tipped minimum wage (in Missouri, the tipped minimum is $3.92 per hour; in Arkansas, it’s $2.63), though it will certainly effect low-wage workers, including many in the fast-food industry who have been vocal about the need for a living wage.

In a press release, Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a nonpartisan organization that advocated for both ballot measures, said the minimum wage boost would boost local economies. “Business owners in two red states came out strongly in support of raising the minimum wage,” she said. “That speaks volumes.”

On other restaurant-relevant ballot measures:

• Chicago voters appear to have approved a ban on plastic straws within city limits.

• Washington State appears to have passed an initiative blocking any future soda taxes throughout the state; the measure does not reverse Seattle’s existing soda tax.

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