City Council Takes First Step Toward Minimum Wage Hike, While Moving Forward with Wider Workers’ Rights Agenda
Just two days after over 1,000 people took to the streets to demand $15/hour and union rights, the Minneapolis City Council voted this morning to establish a workgroup to “develop a recommendation for a study of the effects of establishing a minimum wage regionally and locally.” The workgroup will also develop policy proposals to address workers’ rights issues including paid sick and safe time, fair scheduling, and curbing wage theft.
Local organizations such as Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), SEIU, and 15 Now have been publicly fighting for these four issues, putting pressure on employers like McDonalds and the University of Minnesota. These groups and others were behind Wednesday’s fast food strike and community march for $15/hour and union rights.
Alondra Cano, one of the City Council members who has been pushing for a $15/hour minimum wage, said: “today’s resolution is an important step toward winning a $15/hour minimum wage in Minneapolis. The actions and organizing of working people, of community groups, has placed a workers’ rights agenda at the center of discussion in City Hall. I stand firmly behind this agenda.”
“Minneapolis can lead the way in the fight for $15 and stop the race to the bottom across the region,” said Ginger Jentzen, who spent years as a minimum-wage server before becoming a 15 Now organizer.
15 Now Minnesota welcomes the resolution as an important first step towards equity and a city that prioritizes the needs of its workers. Organizers urged that the City Council workgroup, which will be appointed by Council President Barb Johnson, include the strongest, most vocal advocates for workers rights on the council as well. 15 Now organizers also raised concerns about the long timeline for the minimum wage study.
“In Seattle, it took just six months for city leaders to create a committee, do their research, and prepare policy for the City Council to pass legislation for a $15/hour minimum wage,” said Ty Moore, 15 Now National Organizer. “That happened because 15 Now was able to bring the urgency that working people feel every single day to city hall. We have a poverty crisis. We have an equity crisis. Let’s move this forward as if our lives depended on it, because they do.”