City’s study confirms a $15/hr minimum wage is right for Minneapolis workers

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To read the united press release from the full coalition of labor and community groups backing $15/hr, click here.

The city of Minneapolis’ new minimum wage study gives hard evidence to what low-wage workers have been demanding for more than two years. Nearly 20,000 Minneapolis residents signed the petition to get $15/hour on the ballot, and the study shows: City Council is on solid ground to pass the proposal supported by 68% of Minneapolis, which gets every worker to $15/hr by 2022, no exceptions.

The Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the University of Minnesota explored the impact of raising wages to both $12 and $15 gradually through the year 2021. In total, over 71,000 workers would benefit from $15/hour, with several thousand higher paid workers benefitting from the ripple effect of raising the wage floor (pg 23). The study also shows that the status quo is totally unsustainable: a living wage for a single full time worker with a child living in Minneapolis is $25.73/hour (pg 53)!

Their report shows that passing a $15/hr minimum wage would be a major step towards reducing Minneapolis’ racial and economic equity gaps. 42% of black workers and 54% of Hispanic workers would benefit from a $15/hour minimum wage. Income for black workers would increase 23%, and income for Hispanic workers would increase 27% (pg 38). Although workers of color are disproportionately affected by poverty wages, 51% of minimum wage workers in Minneapolis are white and would see a wage increase of 19%.

Raising the minimum wage would benefit Minneapolis working families most. Residents of Minneapolis who work within the city are twice as likely to earn less than $15/hr (pg 40). 29% of working single mothers would benefit by an increase in the minimum wage, and $15/hour would increase their income by 22% (pg 52). Working families below the poverty line would see a 50% increase in their income with a $15/hour minimum wage (pg 40).

The city’s study is clear -- the positive effects of a $15/hour minimum wage completely outweigh the potential negatives. For example, paying every worker $15/hr increases the operating costs of a McDonald’s by just 5%. Ensuring every restaurant worker earns a living wage would only have a small impact on prices (pg 60). Furthermore, other studies of cities that have passed $15/hour show no significant job loss or business closure. In fact, Seattle’s food industry has added 900 jobs in the first year of their wage hike and seen double the average rate of new restaurants opening.

Passing $15/hour for every worker by 2022 would be a tremendous step towards reducing poverty in Minneapolis and would especially provide economic opportunity for women and workers of color. The study debunks the big business scaremongering about unemployment, price increases and business closures. It also shows that Minneapolis can easily lead the region, taking initiative to pass Minnesota’s first $15/hr minimum wage and put upward pressure on other cities and the state.

Our growing coalition is unified around a $15/hour minimum wage as a concrete policy to address racial and economic disparities in Minneapolis. Due to the crisis of poverty pay, workers are organizing for union rights and a voice in the workplace. Regardless of the city’s process for raising wages, low-wage workers will continue to rally and organize for $15/hour.

Join workers and supporters for a Day of Action and Organizing Conference on Saturday, October 15th, at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 2600 E 38th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406. 

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