Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pressure Grows for $15 in the Twin Cities

As Minneapolis appears poised to institute a $15 minimum wage, 15Now Minnesota and other advocates are keeping up the pressure to make sure it happens.

Supporters will rally Monday, April 17, at noon outside the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, 2001 SE University Ave., near the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. They will protest efforts by the Minnesota Restaurant Association to “carve out” the minimum wage with a “tip penalty” that would allow restaurants to pay tipped workers less.

Minnesota is currently one of only seven states that requires all workers be paid at least minimum wage, whether or not they earn tips.

Monday’s rally also will shine a spotlight on a lawsuit charging Buffalo Wild Wings has used the tip penalty in other states to steal millions of dollars in wages from employees by paying them below the minimum wage during times, such as cleaning and food preparation, when they were unable to earn tips.

On Wednesday, April 19, 15Now Minnesota is sponsoring a panel discussion on “Building a Fighting Labor Movement.” The program will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the CWA Local 7200 hall, 3521 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, and will feature representatives from several labor organizations.

This week several Minneapolis City Council members announced their support for a $15 minimum wage for businesses operating in the city, meaning at least seven members of the 13-member council would vote in favor of such a measure. The details have not yet been worked out and nothing is currently before the council.
The city held listening sessions on the issue in January and February and plans to present a report at a May council meeting.

If Minneapolis were to adopt a $15 minimum wage, it would be the first major city in the Midwest to do so, joining communities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Nearly 7 in 10 Minneapolis voters support a $15 minimum wage requirement in the city, according to a poll released last August by advocates of the measure. Last year, a campaign to put the issue on the November ballot was stopped in court. Advocates then shifted gears to press the City Council to act.

Our proposal for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for all Minneapolis workers, with no carve-outs or exemptions, was signed by nearly 20,000 people and won 68% support” in 2016, 15Now Minnesota organizers said. “The city’s own study confirms that $15 an hour would raise wages for over 70,000 workers in total [including] 54% of Latinx and 42% of Black workers in Minneapolis - with no significant impacts on business.”

>> The article above was written by Barb Kucera, and is reprinted from WorkdayMinnesota.

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