One of the biggest success stories from the alt-labor perspective has been elevating the discussion around raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Efforts to do so are seeing various levels of support at the federal, state and municipal level, as illustrated by the two stories from POLITICO I’ve shared below.
The House Education and Labor Committee will vote Wednesday on raising the federal minimum wage to $15, advancing a central piece of Democrats’ economic agenda.
The Raise the Wage Act, H.R. 582 (116), would phase in a $15 hourly minimum over five years and index future increases to inflation. The bill would eliminate lower minimum wages permitted now for tipped workers, workers with disabilities and workers younger than 20.
The bill is expected to pass the House but faces a tough road in the Senate, with Republicans unlikely to accept $15 and Democrats unlikely to compromise ahead of a presidential election in which several senators are running.
The committee also announced a Thursday hearing on the multiemployer pension crisis, continuing the work of a defunct super committee charged with finding a solution.
A Minnesota appeals court today upheld Minneapolis’ $15 minimum wage law, handing a victory to liberal activists.
In siding with the city, the court rejected an argument from Minneapolis-based manufacturer Graco, which argued that the local ordinance conflicts with state law giving businesses authority to pay workers a minimum of $9.86 an hour. The ordinance, approved in 2017, raises the minimum wage for businesses with more than 100 employees to $15 an hour by 2022, and for businesses with fewer than 100 employees by 2024.
“Corporate interests have tried to derail the Fight for $15’s momentum in the Twin Cities by taking Minneapolis to court over its $15 minimum wage law, but today’s decision secures another major win for workers,” Christine Owens, director of the left-leaning National Employment Law Project, said in a statement.
It feels like this story is a perfect example of what the next two years in Washington D.C. will be like. Think ping pong in the film Forest Gump.
A House Education and the Workforce subcommittee will hold a hearing next week on raising the minimum wage to $15.
Republicans, in their last hearing in the majority, will use the hearing to make the case that a $15 minimum will hurt businesses. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who’s expected to take over as chairman, said last month that the committee will take up $15 minimum wage legislation next year.
“The minimum wage bill will be one of the first we consider,” Scott said. “My expectation is we’d introduce something not identical to the Raise the Wage Act, which is $15 by 2024, but something very similar.”
The hearing is set for Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. in room 2175 of the Rayburn House office Building.
A Minnesota county district court ruled in favor of a Minneapolis city ordinance raising the minimum wage in a decision posted Tuesday.
The ordinance, passed in June, raised the hourly minimum in Minneapolis to $10 starting in January. Wages will then increase each July until they reach $15, with large businesses given until 2022 and small businesses until 2024 to meet the mark.
“The Minnesota Fair Labor Standard Act, the state minimum wage law, sets a floor for minimum wages, leaving room for municipalities to pass minimum wage ordinances to meet the needs of their communities,” Hennepin County Court wrote in its decision. “For these reasons, the court finds that the Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance is not in conflict with or preempted by state law.”
Workers’ advocate groups praised the ruling.
“This is a big win for Minneapolis’ working families,” said Laura Huizar, a staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project. “It means the city remains on track to raise wages for one in five Minneapolis workers.”