Workers rally throughout city for #MplsWorks campaign

Hourly workers rally at Avenue Eatery on West Broadway. Credit: Photo courtesy of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

Hourly workers and their supporters rallied in all 13 of the city’s wards Thursday as part of a Minneapolis Works day of action. 

The low-wage workers and a coalition of advocacy organizations involved in the #MplsWorks campaign are pushing the City Council to mandate Minneapolis employers adopt policies allowing for sick time, fair scheduling and banning wage theft. They are also pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Earlier this year the City Council passed a resolution directing city staff to develop policy proposals addressing the concerns raised by the workers and their supporters. It also called for city staff to recommend a study for examining the impact of establishing a minimum wage regionally and locally.

Outside of a McDonald’s on Lake Street, Duniyo Hussein, a worker affiliated with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), raised concerns about the prevalance of wage theft.

“My paychecks sometimes come without paying me for the hours that I have worked and it throws off my entire budget,” Hussein said, in a statement released by the advocacy group Minnesotans for a Fair Economy. “Every dollar matters when you only make $8 an hour. I can’t believe these violations happen in the United States. We need the city to create stronger enforcement measures to enforce the existing laws that are in place so our employers don’t cheat workers out of what we’ve earned.”

Sammy McDowell, owner of Avenue Eatery in North Minneapolis, spoke about the importance of establishing scheduling policies that work for employees.

“Having a planned schedule works well for Avenue Eatery,” he said in a prepared statement. “It allows my employees to manage the complexities of their lives. It also helps me as the owner to plan for my business and to have happy employees. Happy employees makes happy customers.”

Thursday’s rallies held throughout Minneapolis follow a large demonstration at City Hall on July 15 involving an estimated 350 people calling for city leaders to improve working conditions for low-wage, hourly workers.