Supporters of a higher minimum wage are are focused on winning votes in Minneapolis, while the city’s attorney is racing the clock to stop the issue from going on the ballot.
Fresh off a court victory saying the $15 an hour minimum wage is an appropriate topic for a charter amendment, 15Now laid out the next steps in its campaign on Tuesday. Leaders of the group addressed the media outside of a Wendy’s restaurant that would need to raise its wages if the amendment passes.
“$11,000 an hour the CEO of Wendy’s makes,” said Rod Adams of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC). “And the folks standing behind me, they don’t make more than $9.50. So this is about equality. This is about opportunity. And I urge you folks to get behind this campaign.”
“I think it’s imperative that we get $15 an hour just so we can have the opportunity to sustain a quality life and self-sufficiency,” said Tanise Hodges of 15Now. “We work every day like everybody else. But the difference is we’re not making a wage that is sustainable to live a sufficient quality life. And everybody deserves a quality life.”
If approved by voters, minimum wages in Minneapolis would move to $10 an hour in 2017 and reach $15 an hour in 2020. For businesses with less than 500 employees, the minimum wage wouldn’t hit $15 an hour until 2022.
15Now, NOC and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) plan to launch a citywide campaign on September 12 to get voters on their side. However, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said her office had filed a motion in Hennepin County District Court to stay the Judge Susan Robiner’s order that put the minimum wage on the ballot.
Segal says the city will still provide Hennepin County the proposed charter amendment by this Friday, the deadline to have it on the printed ballot. But the city wants the Robiner to stay her own order so the Minnesota Supreme Court has time to review the case before early voting starts on September 23.
(UPDATE: Robiner has scheduled a motion hearing for Friday at 10am. Minnesota’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on August 30.)
In an emailed statement, Segal said, “We remain of the strong conviction that the petition to place a minimum wage ordinance on the ballot for inclusion in the city’s charter is in conflict with Minnesota statutes and the Minneapolis Charter which contains no provision allowing such initiatives.”
“Questions about the legality of our election systems hit at the very core of our democracy and are critical to ensure the order and legitimacy of government functions,” says the city’s request to the Minnesota Supreme Court. “Accelerated review by this court is necessary to assure an orderly election process for the governance of the largest city in the state.”
Petition to Minnesota Supreme Court
Motion to stay