The Minnesota Restaurant Association, the corporate lobby group sponsoring “Pathway to $15” in Minneapolis, tries to play both sides. When it comes to tip penalty, which would exclude tipped workers from $15, they claim to be a friend of workers and small local businesses.
But at the same time, Pathway to $15’s proposal fights for corporate carve-outs by claiming that some of the largest corporations like McDonalds, Subway, and Buffalo Wild Wings, which is currently mired in a wage theft lawsuit involving 58,000 tipped workers across the country, could be on the same implementation timeline to $15/hour as real small neighborhood businesses.
Blatant corporate carve outs like this have been blocked in the past thanks to grassroots organizing. A similar group in Washington State actually sued the city of Seattle over their $15/hour victory, demanding that McDonald’s and other franchises be treated like small businesses. The lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the International Franchise Association, was thrown out of federal court in March 2015, legally confirming the obvious fact that McDonald’s, Subway, and Buffalo Wild Wings are clearly not the same as small locally owned businesses.
But we can’t underestimate the Minnesota Restaurant Association’s powerful influence on City Hall, and we’ll need double down on our organizing to stop them. Can you join us at our upcoming Member Meeting to beat back the corporate attack?
15 Now Member Meeting
Saturday, March 25th, 4:00-6:00pm
2722 University Ave SE
If you can’t make it, can you donate $15 right now to help us get the message out that Subway, McDonald's, Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings are not small businesses?
We need to move quickly. While the Minnesota Restaurant Association is downplaying their attempt to include McDonald’s as a small business, they are handing out misleading literature to workers right now about the need for a tip penalty. Anyone who has eaten in a location where $15/hr has passed, like Seattle or California, knows tipping has not gone away, and workers there will tell you the industry is thriving. We need to organize to counteract this misleading initiative backed by big-business lobbyists. Check out the example below:
It’s a testament to the strength of our movement that these big business groups are forced to accept $15/hr, but they’re still fighting to undermine the minimum wage. We know that McDonald's is not a small business-- if these ultra-rich corporations wanted to support the local economy, they could lower franchise fees, instead of constantly squeezing them for profit. But we’re going to need to organize to make sure these corporations pay their fair share, instead of penalizing workers.
If the Minnesota Restaurant Association really wanted to support the local economy, they’d support our proposal for a $15 minimum wage for all workers by 2022, no exemptions. As the city’s study shows, $15/hour will put millions into the local economy and not corporate bank accounts, help owners of large and small businesses, lift thousands of workers out of poverty, and is supported by numerous genuinely small businesses in Minneapolis. In fact, a group of Somali small business owners wrote an op-ed in the Star Tribune last week in support of our proposal for $15/hr.
Like in Seattle, we have to use massive grassroots organizing to debunk the Restaurant Association’s scheme. Can you make a donation of $15 to fund our fight? Also be sure to join us at our upcoming Member Meeting to beat back the corporate attack.