15 Now Minnesota is an independent grassroots movement fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour for every worker in the Twin Cities. Through years of rallies and strikes, Minneapolis workers won the first $15 minimum wage in the Midwest despite big business opposition and inertia in the political establishment. Now workers in St. Paul are organizing to do the same. The rent won’t wait! Volunteer and donate today!

We and our partners are fighting to win a $15 minimum wage in Minnesota. Will you join us?

Big Victory, Big Challenges

Probably most of you have seen the headlines: City Hall introduced ordinance language to pass a $15 minimum wage with no tip penalty by the end of the year. This is the product of years of worker and community organizing in our workplaces and in the streets.

Last November, Mayor Carter was elected with a clear mandate to pass $15 One Fair Wage. It’s a testament to the strength of our movement that after a year of heavy lobbying by big business, Mayor Carter still stands by a $15 minimum wage with no tip penalty.

Here’s the policy details:

  • $15 minimum wage
  • No tip penalty
  • 5 year phase-in for big business (100+ workers), 7 for small business (5-100 workers) and 9 for microbusiness (<5 workers). These refer to the amount of time that businesses have to get to $15 from the date the law passes, rather than the beginning of implementation. It works out to big and small business getting to $15 just one year behind their Minneapolis counterparts, with microbusiness a few years behind.
  • Carve-out for workers in certain disability employment programs, like in Minneapolis
  • Nonprofit youth training programs (like Cookie Cart and Right Track) will have a carve-out at 85% of the municipal minimum wage ($12.75). The City Council is going to let the Rules Committee decide how long that carve-out should last.
  • There’s a carve-out at 85% of the municipal minimum wage for workers ages 14-17 for the first 90 days at any job.
  • Enforcement policy significantly weaker than Minneapolis, and fails to meet many of the basic elements of a successful enforcement system.

The proposal on the table right now shows the balance of power at work in City Hall. Our movement has been strong enough to force them to concede to a $15 minimum wage with no tip penalty. Big business has exerted enough pressure to weaken the policy in significant ways, including a slower phase-in for micro-businesses, the two types of youth carve-out, and the weakened enforcement mechanisms.

The corporate lobbyists at the Minnesota Restaurant Association and the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association are not accepting the defeat of no tip penalty. We know that they’re going to double down lobbying to try and pressure City Hall into carving out tipped workers. They will bring amendments and attempt to disguise their proposal by calling it something other than a “tip credit,” like a slower phase-in for full service restaurants. This threat is very real.

The biggest mistake we could make now would be to stand on the sidelines while City Hall handles the legislative process. Big business certainly won’t. We know from the fight for $15 in Minneapolis that corporate lobbyists didn’t stop pushing for carve-outs and delays until the final vote, and that will be true here in Saint Paul, too. That means we need to mobilize as much as possible to the upcoming public hearings!

We need you there to help put pressure on City Council so that they don’t have any space to bring forward corporate-backed tip penalty amendments. This doesn’t mean we’re done pushing City Hall for a stronger policy. 

$15 Minimum Wage First Reading
Wednesday, October 17th, 3-5pm
City Hall (15 W Kellogg Blvd)


$15 Minimum Wage Second Reading
Wednesday, October 24th, 3-5pm
City Hall (15 W Kellogg Blvd)

$15 Minimum Wage Public Testimony
Wednesday, November 7th, 5pm
City Hall (15 W Kellogg Blvd)

 

See you at City Hall!

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