I'm taking City Hall to court for blocking minimum wage

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I testified at City Hall last week, alongside other low-wage workers, but City Council listened more to the Chamber of Commerce and the Minneapolis Downtown Council than to us. 

I’m a low-wage worker in Minneapolis. I got active in politics because of Bernie’s campaign. I joined the movement to win $15/hour in Minneapolis. Last Wednesday, the City Council bowed to big business, illegally blocking our valid proposal. Myself and other low-wage workers are taking City Hall to court. We’re urging a judge to place $15/hour onto the November ballot, to let those directly affected by poverty wages decide. But we need your help.

Our first hearing is this Friday morning. Since last week's council vote, supporters have contributed $6000 in grassroots donations! We want to raise $10,000 by Friday to ensure we have the best legal team possible, so Minneapolis workers can vote for $15/hour on the November ballot. That's a big goal, but if 200 supporters donate $20 right now, we can get there!

Can you donate $20, $40, or $100 to help us cover legal expenses?

The same day City Council blocked $15/hour from the ballot, City Council passed a nonbinding “staff directive” to look into raising minimum wage by summer 2017. The staff directive makes no mention of $15 - it doesn’t even guarantee an increase in the minimum wage or hold the council accountable to any process to raise wages. Minneapolis City Council has had three years to pass a $15/hour minimum wage. We don’t want vague promises.

Workers can't tell their landlord to wait on the rent, so why can politicians tell us to wait time and time again?

The staff directive amounts to a plan to water down our demand for $15/hour. It takes the decision out of the hands of low-wage workers and into the backrooms of City Hall, where big business groups like the Chamber of Commerce will weaken it further. They’re trying to take credit for the work of low-wage workers who have pushed $15/hour onto the agenda while at the same time striking the only concrete proposal to get to $15.

We need $15! The Twin Cities are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies – the highest concentration in the country – yet also the worst racial inequities in the nation. A staggering 48% of black people in Minneapolis live in poverty, compared to 13% of white people. Winning $15/hour would impact over 100,000 workers, predominantly women and workers of color, and put almost a billion dollars a year into the hands of working people each year.

Minneapolis City Council voted down the only concrete proposal to address these racial and economic inequities.

Vote Theft is Wage Theft!

As our court case advances, we need to keep organizing a movement to win $15/hour. We’re knocking on hundreds of doors, making thousands of calls, and reaching out to every worker in Minneapolis to let them know what’s going on. History shows social movements have driven change, shifting both public and legal opinion.

This is a fight we can win. Our grassroots campaign has mobilized thousands of people in Minneapolis, with workers collecting almost 20,000 signatures to qualify $15/hr for voters. Almost 1,000 people have made small donations to this campaign, making our work possible. We’re taking on big business and the Democratic Party establishment, but winning $15/hour in Minneapolis opens the door to winning $15/hour across the Midwest, a region devastated by the economic recession. Let’s keep the political revolution alive by building grassroots movements to win $15!

Learn how you can join the movement to win $15 for Minneapolis at our next organizing meeting, and donate today.

- Tyler Vasseur, low-wage worker and college student

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