Congressman Keith Ellison joined Minneapolis small business owners this morning to push a mandated “earned sick and safe time” city-wide ordinance. Alpha News has reported on the Working Families Agenda, championed by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, which would have required all employers to provide mandated sick time and to schedule employees 28-days in advance. The scheduling requirements faced enough backlash by local business owners to place them on the back burner, but the sick time requirements remain on the agenda. MinnPost reports that “only four states, 19 cities and one county in the U.S. have mandatory paid sick leave laws or ordinances currently on the books.”
The City of Minneapolis has appointed a 15-member City’s Workplace Regulations Partnership to study the issue of “sick and safe” time and make recommendations. Representatives from liberal activist groups like TakeAction Minnesota and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, as well as labor unions like SEIU, UNITE HERE Local 17, and the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation will join local business leaders on the committee.
They city’s also focused on a minimum wage hike and is currently spending $150,0000 to study a city-wide mandated minimum wag hike and will choose a consultant by December 18, according to Twin Cities Business Magazine. Activist groups are seeking a $15 an hour minimum wage in Minneapolis.
Mayor Hodges came out against the minimum wage hike earlier this year telling the Star Tribune that she believes instead in an “industry-specific” mandatory minimum wage at the “regional, state, and federal, level.” Hodges said ““I believe it should be higher nationally, I believe it should be higher in the state.”
Just last year, under full Democratic control in St. Paul, Minnesota passed a $9 an hour minimum wage for companies with over $500,000 in annual gross revenue which increases to $9.50 per hour by Aug. 1, 2016. Small employers with under $500,000 in annual gross revenue must pay $7.25 per hour today and $7.75 per hour by next summer. Starting in 2018, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation. By the time the full increase is implemented in 2016, Minnesota will have the sixth highest minimum wage in the country after California, Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut and the state will have the highest wage in the upper Midwest. South Dakota’s minimum wage is $8.50 per hour, Wisconsin’s $7.35, and North Dakota and Iowa are both at $7.25,
Keith Ellison’s tour today is a part of “Shop Your Values” campaign which promotes liberal policies like universal healthcare, the President’s executive order on amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, and action against “tax dodging” American companies with an offshore presence. The national organization which organizes the political action around the country is the Main Street Alliance, formed in 2008 under the Alliance for a Just Society which is partnered with the Community Organizations in Action. The organizations are funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation and have also received government grants. While the organizations work for “fair pay” it should be noted, their Executive Director, Lee Ann Hall, took in over $100,000 in compensation in 2013.
In Minnesota, the Executive Director for the Main Street Alliance pushing the mandates is Corinne Horowitz, who was recently a lobbyist for SEIU which organized protests earlier this month to push the minimum wage hike.
The list of Minneapolis businesses participating in the Shop You Values action includes Peace Coffee, founded by Minnesota’s former Secretary of State, Mark Richie. Another is the Minuteman Press franchise location in Uptown whose owner told the Southwest Journal last month that he supports mandates on sick time and scheduling. Frank Brown, stated, “We need a level-playing field that all Minneapolis workers can rely on — not just leaving these up to the whim of those business owners that are doing the right thing by their employees. I feel strongly we need a set of policies that every business, big to small, must adhere to.”
Main Street Alliance MN and SEIU promoted the Shop your Values event on Twitter this morning and included a map of business locations who support mandated sick leave.