Nov. 14, 2005 – In a move hailed by labor organizations, the Minneapolis City Council resoundingly approved an ordinance requiring companies operating with city money to pay workers at least $12.09 an hour. The measure, which could spread to neighboring St. Paul, strengthens an existing "living-wage" law in the city, upping the minimum wage some employers must pay from 110 to 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
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Campaigns to increase wages at the local level have been ongoing for years. According to the Minneapolis Central Labor Council, a key player in the effort to pass the ordinance, the new living wage law carries enforcement measures missing in the 1997 bill. The Council approved of the ordinance 11-2.
In passing the law, which will go into effect in January, Minneapolis joined over 100 other communities that have bucked the federal government on addressing wage floors. The federal minimum wage, currently at $5.15 an hour, has not been raised since 1997.
With a the Minneapolis victory under its belt, the Living Wage Yes Campaign moved quickly to gain support for a similar measure from its sister cityâ€™s new mayor, Chris Coleman, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported last week.
Progressive Minnesota Executive Director Ryan Greenwood is pleased that Coleman won the election and expects his administration to work with living-wage supporters to enact a law similar to the Minneapolis one, a marked difference from their recent efforts to negotiate with the current mayor, Randy Kelly.