Ruling in favor of petitioners in the case of Vasseur vs. City of Minneapolis, Judge Susan Robiner has ordered that a $15 minimum wage Charter Amendment will be on the November 2016 ballot in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council blocked the $15 proposal on the advice of City Attorney Susan Segal, after $15 supporters submitted nearly 20,000 signatures in late June.
The ruling comes as a new poll shows 68% of likely Minneapolis voters support a $15/hr charter amendment. “Judge Robiner’s ruling is a step toward putting the $15/hr decision back into the hands of those workers most affected by poverty wages, in particular increasing opportunity for women and people of color who disproportionately fill low-wage jobs ,” said Tyler Vasseur, a Jimmy John’s worker and one of the plaintiffs in the case.
“This is a great victory for the Minneapolis $15 campaign, the movement to raise wages across the country, and democracy,” said Laura Huizar, staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project, a national research and advocacy organization that helped lead the legal fight. “The Minnesota constitution gives Minneapolis residents a right to decide what issues are sufficiently important to protect in their city’s charter, and voters will now have an opportunity to significantly improve the lives and futures of thousands of hard-working families in the city when they vote this November.”
In her decision brief, Judge Robiner writes, “To reject this proposal based on its content somehow being improper, which the City urges, amounts to passing judgment on the quality of the proposal which is not the province of the court.”
“City Council attempted to give big business cover by voting against putting $15 on the ballot. But today’s decision strikes a blow against the influence of downtown business interests,” said Ginger Jentzen, Executive Director of 15 Now Minnesota. “Now we’re going to wage a massive campaign, and call on all $15/hr supporters and working people in Minneapolis to build this grassroots movement to win in November.”
“I’m very happy to get this news, that we have our right to have a say in what we get paid,” said Rosheeda Credit, a NOC member and one of the plaintiffs. “The whole time the city said there was a law we couldn’t put it on the ballot, but the judge said they weren’t giving her a real legal reason not to. Now we have a chance to vote on it, and I’m going to spread the word. I’m going to knock on doors, I’m going to be on social media, I’m going to be registering my friends to vote. I’m doing everything I can to get everyone to vote for $15.”
“I'm very excited this is happening. As a fast food worker, I have a vision! We have worked hard to bring the issue of $15 to the forefront, as a step to end racial and economic disparities in our communities. That's not going to stop til we get what workers deserve,” said Steven Suffridge, McDonald's worker and CTUL member. “We've seen from all the polls, community forums, strikes, and direct actions that Minneapolis residents want $15. So long as we can get out the vote, this will win in a landslide.”
Supporting organizations Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, 15 Now Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Socialist Alternative and others will hold a press conference at 11 am on Tuesday, August 23 outside of Wendy’s, 421 West Broadway, Minneapolis, to announce next steps and launch the next phase in the campaign.
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