Minneapolis workers are on the verge of winning one of the most substantial victories in decades. It's a testament to the power of grassroots organizing that the majority in City Hall now accept a $15/hr minimum wage in Minneapolis, but yesterday’s City Council meeting showed that big business interests are prepared to fight up to the last vote to defend their profits. We need you now more than ever!
Big business interests still have powerful influence in the back rooms of City Hall, and are fighting to leave thousands of workers behind. For example, Council member Barb Johnson introduced a proposal that would artificially postpone health-health care employees' raise to $15 by effectively classifying them as small business employees. There was additional talk of excluding workers at non-profit organizations, and young workers. Against the recommendations of city staff and studies, Council member Jacob Frey proposed to arbitrarily extend the implementation for businesses with less than 100 employees an extra two-years.
We can block these anti-worker carve outs the same way we succeeded at pushing $15 to the center of the agenda: organizing grassroots pressure from below. But time is short. First and foremost, be at City Hall tomorrow at 9:00am, City Council Chambers, room 317. Second, contact your City Council Member and let them know you support the strongest possible $15/hr for every worker, regardless of who their employer happens to be.
The stakes are high. The Twin Cities are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies – the highest concentration in the country – yet some of the worst racial and economic inequities in the nation. A $15/hr minimum wage would impact 71,000 workers immediately, overwhelmingly women and workers of color. Winning $15/hr in Minneapolis, the first city in the Midwest to do so, is a powerful way forward to push back against Trump’s billionaire backed agenda. Artificially delaying its implementation and arbitrarily exempting types of workers will undermine this.
We’ve come a long way from when this movement started back in 2013. First they ignored the demand for $15. We kept organizing. Then they said it was impossible. We kept organizing. Then they said it was too high. Workers and activists pushed forward: marching, protesting and going on strike. Polls came out showing 68% of Minneapolis residents supported $15/hr, City Council’s own study confirmed $15 is right for Minneapolis, and city staff recommended it last month. Now the majority in City Hall supports $15/hr, but the fight is not over until the final vote is cast.
Tomorrow, low-wage workers and activists will make history. Don’t let big business interests water it down in the back rooms of City Hall. Tell your friends to contact their council member, and we’ll see you tomorrow morning, 9:00am, City Council Chambers!