Traffic stood at a standstill downtown Minneapolis today as workers for the second day in a row protested for a $15 minimum wage and what they view as a more fair economy. The protests brought together a coalition of community organizations, including but not limited to: Take Back MN, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Center for Workers United in Change (CTUL), and a local chapter of SEIU.
The protest was held in correspondence with non-union striking janitors. Star Tribune reports that roughly 300 individuals joined the march. In addition to calling for a $15 dollar minimum wage, better working hours and increased vacation time were other voiced grievances.
The protest comes in light of a class-action suit won by janitors against their employer, Capital Building Services Group. $400,000 was awarded by Capital as a settlement to the Janitors due to mistreatment of workers.
The protesters succeeded in blocking traffic, and at one point police had to close 35w North exits to ensure that more drivers didn’t make their way downtown due to protesters blocking the exits.
The Star Tribune reports: “Major backups as long as 3 miles were reported on northbound I-35W, Minnesota Department of Transportation cameras showed. Highway traffic returned to normal around 9 a.m. and downtown traffic soon after that.”
Discontent for corporations and calls for wealth distribution monopolized the rhetoric of protesters. US Bank was a particular target for some protesters.
Utilizing the twitter hashtag #ReclaimMN, protesters picketed in the streets, occupied the Bancorp center downtown Minneapolis, and listened to speakers including State Representative Dehn (district 59B) and State Representative Hornstein (District 61A) talk on issues pertaining to wages and workers rights.
Whether or not the workers demands for a $15 minimum wage, paid sick and vacation time, and an improved workplace are met remains to be seen. Given how contentious the issue of a $15 minimum wage has become, Alpha News will be releasing an in-depth analysis of how it would affect the economy of Minnesota next week. Subscribe to Alpha News so you don’t miss it.