The Fight for $15 Minimum Wage in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN — A group called 15Now is seeking to raise the minimum wage in Minneapolis in November. According to their website, 15Now states that “business is booming, while workers are falling behind.”

A petition in Minneapolis has received enough signatures to force a vote at the next Minneapolis City Council Meeting.

MNPost reports activist groups like Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), amongst others are actively supporting the measure.

The measure, should it pass in November, would benefit members of the African American community greatly.

Data compiled by MNCompass shows the median income for African Americans is $25,000 or about $13 an hour.

Photo Credit: MNCompass
Photo Credit: MNCompass

The median income rises for immigrants from Africa as they make an average of $28,884 or about $15 an hour. That number jumps significantly in the Hispanic community as their median income is $39,199 or about $20 an hour. White Americans have a median income of $60,221 or about $31 an hour.

However, should a $15 minimum wage hike reach the ballot for Minneapolis, business owners could feel the effects of the raise and the employment rate in Minneapolis could go down.

Seattle, WA raised the minimum wage in their city to $15 in June of 2014 where all businesses would need to raise their wages in increments and would need to be in compliance with the law by 2017. Seattle has seen negative effects to the new law.

The Editorial Board of the NY Post recently wrote an article asking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to not raise the minimum wage in New York.

The NY Post gathered data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that between April and December 2015 “Seattle saw the biggest employment drop in any nine month period since 2009 – a full year into the Great Recession.”  

The Post also notes that Seattle lost 10,000 jobs in a three month span while just outside the city limits saw job growth upward of 57,000.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could prove problematic for Minnesota. While it remains at a steady 3.7 unemployment rate, data shows that in March, Minnesota lost 2,900 jobs and lost another 1,900 jobs in May.

CNBC reported earlier this month that Minnesota was no longer the top state for business stating,

“Minnesota’s worst category this year is the Cost of Doing Business, where it comes in at 35th — an unfortunate consequence of taxes that are among the highest in the nation. Minnesota has the top individual income tax rate of 9.85 percent and the corporate tax rate is 9.8 percent. State and local sales tax are both 7.875 percent.”

They also noted that job growth in Minnesota has slowed down as a result.

The measure will be on the ballot in November as 15Now obtained enough signatures to include it. Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis did not support a Minneapolis-only hike in 2015.

The Star Tribune states that Hodges does not believe a citywide wage hike is the best strategy for alleviating poverty or erasing inequalities between racial groups. 

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.