Last week, Mayor Carter announced that he has “already decided” that Saint Paul will raise the minimum wage to $15 with no tip penalty or carve-outs by the end of this year. Carter attributes his position to the fact that 98% of votes in last year’s mayoral election went to candidates who campaigned on raising the wage to $15.
Mayor Carter has listened to workers’ calls for $15 in Saint Paul, but most of the City Hall establishment is still dragging their feet. We need to build a movement to hold them accountable to the working people they claim to represent.
City Council won’t even commit to $15 as the number for the new minimum wage despite the fact that $15 is in the DFL party platform and the obvious public mandate for $15 in Saint Paul. The Citizens League, the third party that City Council commissioned to research the minimum wage, is compiling a business-heavy task force to consider “the appropriate rate” for the new minimum wage. All the while, 40% of Saint Paul residents are living in poverty, disproportionately women, immigrants, and people of color.
Just a few years ago, a $15 minimum wage was seen as impossible. But workers built a movement that put immense pressure on the political establishment, and now our movement of workers in the streets is headed towards passing #15forSTP #1FairWage and lifting thousands of working families out of poverty! But we can't get complacent. Big business will fight tooth and nail for anti-worker carve-outs like tip penalty and training wages. It's time to double down on the fight for $15, until we beat poverty wages in St Paul!