Twin Cities Inaction: Minimum Wage Vote, Paid Sick Leave Law Face Delays

MINNEAPOLIS—City officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Missouri have chosen to delay moving forward on two proposed measures, a minimum wage increase in Minneapolis and an earned sick and safe time ordinance in St. Paul.

Mayor Betsy Hodges announced Aug. 25 that Minneapolis would appeal a Hennepin County judge’s ruling to put a $15 minimum wage charter amendment on the November 2016 ballot. Judge Susan Robiner said the city council’s action to block the amendment, taken earlier in August, lacked basis in Minnesota law.

In making the appeal, City Attorney Susan Segal said the vote on $15 “is in conflict with Minnesota statutes and the Minneapolis charter, which contains no provision allowing such initiatives.” The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear the appeal, which faces a tight deadline. Items to be placed on the ballot were supposed to be submitted by Aug. 26.

If Minneapolis voters eventually pass the $15 ordinance, the city would join dozens of

others nationwide that have raised wages for their lowest-paid workers citywide. Those cities include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and Philadelphia.

Minneapolis’ current minimum wage sits at $7.25/hr, the same as its been for almost a decade.

The actual Minneapolis minimum wage plan does not immediately raise the city’s minimum to $15. Instead, it raises the minimum to $10 an hour next Aug. 1, followed by annual increases depending on the size of the employer.

In St. Paul, the measure to require employers to provide earned sick and safe time appears poised to pass, but was delayed Wednesday when the City Council changed the language of the amendment. The procedural delay means a vote will not be taken until Sept. 7.

The ordinance would require all St. Paul employers to provide workers with one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work, with sick-time earnings capped at 48 hours per year.

An estimated 70,000 workers would benefit and St. Paul would join about 25 other cities nationwide – including Minneapolis – with a sick-time rule on the books.

Advocates of the sick time measure expressed their disappointment with the delay through social media and by standing in protest in the City Council chambers as the vote was taken.

Source: PAI