UPDATE: Baltimore Mayor blocks $15/hr despite City Council approval

***UPDATE*** Just moments after we published this article, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh betrayed thousands of working families and broke her campaign promise to pass $15/hour, instead vetoing it and caving to big business pressure. We need to redouble our efforts to build an unstoppable grassroots movement to win #15forMpls with #1FairWage -- that means no carve outs or exemptions!

On Monday night, the Baltimore city council passed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour after massive grassroots pressure from labor, faith, and community organizations. But big business in Baltimore won an exemption for workers under the age of 21, showing that even as our movement wins the debate around $15, corporate groups work behind the scenes to undermine the concept of minimum wage and water down the final proposal.

Let’s make sure we win #1FairWage in Minneapolis: $15/hr, no carve outs, no tip-penalty!  Can you donate $15 today to help make sure youth workers aren’t left behind in Minneapolis?

Baltimore’s bill still needs the Mayor’s signature to become law, but there’s already lots to celebrate about the Fight for $15’s victory in Baltimore city hall. Community pressure blocked numerous other amendments that would water down the minimum wage, including exemptions for apprenticeships and small businesses. In addition, it shows how cities can point the way forward by passing $15/hr with the aim of spurring regional and statewide increases, setting a great example for Minneapolis and other cities around the country.

But the youth carve-out that did pass is a harmful policy that sets a dangerous precedent of subminimum wages. As the National Employment Labor Project explains, youth carve-outs incentivise high turnover staffing models, discriminates against older workers, and ignores the reality that unlike the “summer job” stereotype, the average low-wage worker of any age contributes over half their income to their family. In families and communities of color, the impact is even more stark.

We need to organize to shut down big business carve-outs like youth wages to win #1FairWage in Minneapolis. Can you join us at Saturday’s General Meeting to organize against unfair carve-outs like youth wages? If not, can you donate $15 to fund the fight?

Big business uses the same strategies to protect their profits all over the country. Corporate lobbyists in Maryland pushed statewide unity to intentionally thwart community organizing at the local level, just like the Minnesota Restaurant Association is doing with statewide preemption in Minnesota. Baltimore big business pushed unfair carve-outs and exemptions up until the minute the council voted. Here in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Restaurant Association, the corporate lobby behind Pathway to $15, is already pushing similar carve-outs. 

We know that community pressure can win over big business carve-outs: community pressure blocked the corporate-backed youth wage carve-out during Seattle’s Fight for $15. We can win $15/hour for workers of every age in Minneapolis. Join us at our General Meeting or contribute to beat big business’s youth carve-out and win #1FairWage.