Right before the July Fourth holiday, thousands of Minneapolis workers got a welcomed treat.
Last Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15, which will apply to most employees in the city, including those who work on tips. According to the legislation, companies based in the city have a five- to seven-year window to phase in the hike.
“Fifteen an hour has officially arrived in the heartland!” said Guillermo Lindsey, a Minneapolis-based McDonald’s worker and Fight for $15 member, in an emailed statement. “It wasn’t easy, but after years of going on strike, taking to the streets and raising our voices for higher wages, we have finally won the raise we need. Getting paid $15/hour will help us pay for groceries, make the rent and cover the basics without relying on public assistance. We’re proud that Minneapolis is the first city in the Midwest to pass $15/hour, but we promise it won’t be the last.”
Lindsey added, “This movement has momentum that can’t be stopped, and we’ll keep on standing up and speaking out until everyone, everywhere, is paid at least $15/hour and has the right to join a union.”
Workers who earn most of their salary on tips will see their hourly pay bump up to $15 an hour on top of what they’ll receive in tips. National Employment Law Project Executive Director Chris Owens said, in a statement, that this marked another victory for the Fight for $15 movement and that the movement’s expansion won’t stop.
“With its spread today into the American heartland, the Fight for $15 continues to change the country,” said Owens. “The increase is a testament to the bravery of workers who went on strike, spoke out and marched in the streets, beating back a cruel preemption bill in the state Legislature that would have snatched away their hopes for higher pay and basic economic security. It’s a victory not only for the fast-food cooks and home care workers whose lives will improve, but also for the city’s economy as a whole, which will grow stronger with more money in the pockets of 71,000 workers.”
Owens said that he believes other cities will follow Minneapolis’ lead and praised the city council for passing a minimum wage increase.
“The Minneapolis City Council also deserves credit for making its city the first in the Midwest to pass a $15 minimum wage, and for making sure tipped workers receive the same wages as non-tipped workers,” stated Owens.
According to the Fight for $15 movement, Minneapolis’ new minimum wage will benefit 73,000 people (or 23 percent of workers in the city). The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator estimated that in 2014, a single worker with no children who works full-time would need a $13.10 hourly wage to make ends meet in the Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington metro area. A single, full-time worker with one child would need a $26-an-hour salary.