MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is suing Minneapolis over the city’s ordinance raising minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In June, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance to raise minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour. The proposed ordinance went through several revisions, including an amendment authored by then-Councilman Jacob Frey which gave business with 100 or more employees five years to phase in the change and seven years for smaller businesses. By 2024 everyone working in Minneapolis would be earning at least $15 an hour.
The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County District Court last Friday, argues the ordinance conflicts with state law. The chamber believes it is the state’s responsibility to set the minimum wage, and is asking the court to prevent the implementation of the ordinance. Graco Inc., the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association, and the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce join the suit as co-plaintiffs.
“The state has set the minimum wage in Minnesota, and a city does not have the power to set a different minimum wage,” Chamber Director of Labor Management Policy Cam Winton told the Star Tribune.
Minnesota’s minimum wage is currently set at $9.50 per hour for large employers and is set to increase slightly to $9.65 per hour on Jan. 1 to account for inflation. In comparison, under the ordinance passed in June, large business in Minneapolis will be required to pay employees a minimum of $10 per hour starting Jan. 1.
“Businesses will spend more time understanding and complying with laws and less time innovating, growing and hiring new employees,” Chamber president Doug Loon said in a statement obtained by the Star Tribune. “Both ordinances undermine the market forces and creativity which are making Minnesota jobs among the most desirable in the nation.”
This is not the first time the chamber has sued the city. In 2016, Minneapolis passed a paid sick-leave ordinance which the chamber alleged the ordinance conflicted with state law. In January, Hennepin County District Court Judge Mel Dickstein ruled in the city’s favor, allowing the city to implement the ordinance for Minneapolis-based employers only. The chamber appealed, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s ruling.