Minneapolis Pushes $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance for Final Approval

The City of Minneapolis pushed its proposal for a $15 minimum wage for final approval during the Committee of the Whole’s regular meeting today. During the meeting, committee members proposed amendments and created a new draft for the City Council’s approval during its regular meeting on Friday, Jun. 30.

Elizabeth Glidden, the chair of the committee, announced to a “full house” in the council chambers that they would begin about 15 minutes late so that all the appropriate paperwork had been gathered for motions and staff directions.

After this time had passed, a resident that appeared to be affiliated with $15 Now heckled the committee members already seated by asking them if they were “done getting coffee” and said they [everyone in the audience] took the city bus this morning to be there. The meeting started a half hour late.

The committee first proposed and passed an instruction to the city clerk to continue recording public comments and make sure everything is included in the public record. A special session of the committee was held last week to take testimony and documentation in a public hearing. 139 residents gave their testimony as hundred of others gathered outside the chamber to rally for increasing the minimum wage.

Discussion on first proposed amendments showed concerns for they city’s small business community shown at the hearing. Jacob Frey, a candidate for mayor, proposed that minimum wage be phased-in for five years for large business, and seven years for small business, and that the inflationary increase would begin in five years at 2.5% or the current rate.

After significant discussion, the committee agreed that increasing the minimum wage issue is an urgent matter. Council member Lisa Bender closed the discussion by saying “this is the strongest policy for workers than can be passed through this council.” The motion passed without roll call.

Committee members Kevin Reich, Lisa Bender, and Cam Gordon proposed reducing the requirements of the youth employment provision. Discussion centered around the legalities of reducing the age and employment guidelines because they came from the State of Minnesota, which states they should be age 20 and for 90 days.

However, the committee did approve a staff direction to amend language in the ordinance to clearly define that training wages would only apply to apprenticeships and job training programs, not regular jobs like working at McDonalds.

The committee also approved a baseline study to determine the city’s current economic state and subsequent studies so that the ordinance’s affect can be assessed during each stage on the way to a $15 minimum wage.

At the public hearing, many servers expressed concern over tips not being counted as wages, arguing that not counting tips as income creates financial difficulties for small business. No council members proposed amendments to address this concern.

Glidden concluded the agenda item by saying that “we have just passed the minimum wage ordinance” but as the crowd motioned cheers, corrected herself and stated that the City Council still needs to consider the new ordinance draft on Friday, Jun. 30 before its final approval.

Broadcasts of all city council meetings are on Minneapolis 14 and the City of Minneapolis’ YouTube channel. The maximum occupancy of the council chambers is limited to 100 people and seating is limited in other viewing areas.

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