Public invited to give input on minimum wage policy

Nine listening sessions scheduled Jan. 24–Feb. 23

The City of Minneapolis is seeking public input on a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage at nine upcoming listening sessions.

The City Council is expected to consider a citywide minimum wage ordinance this spring. City staff members are seeking feedback from the public — including both workers and business owners — as they develop policy recommendations to present to the council.

There are nine listening sessions scheduled Jan. 24–Feb. 23. The first seven seek input from specific stakeholder communities, while the final two are open to the general public.

A city-commissioned study released last fall found raising the minimum wage would benefit tens of thousands of Minneapolis workers. Pay increases would go mainly to people of color, particularly blacks and Latinos, who are disproportionately represented in low-wage positions.

That same study suggested employers would experience only moderate increases in costs, a finding that has been challenged by some business owners and City Council members.

The industries that are most likely to pay minimum wage — including retail, restaurants, fast food, health care and childcare — would see the steepest increases in payroll and operating costs, according to the study’s authors, a team of economists from the University of Minnesota. Their models predicted a $15 minimum wage could raise operating costs for restaurants by as much as 5.4 percent, but suggested most of those costs would be passed on to consumers through higher menu prices, increasing a $25 meal tab by approximately $1.66.

The study examined both a $12 and a $15 minimum wage scenario. It found a $12 minimum wage would boost pay for 47,000 of the city’s approximately 311,000 workers, or about 15 percent of the workforce. A $15 minimum wage would affect 71,000 Minneapolis workers, or about 23 percent of the workforce, over half of them Latino.

The schedule for minimum wage listening sessions includes:

— Jan. 24: Latino community

6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. on the second floor of Mercado Central, 1515 E. Lake St.

— Jan. 26: Minneapolis Business Advisory Group

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. in the basement conference room at U.S. Bank, 919 E. Lake St.

— Jan. 26: East African community

6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave. S.

— Jan. 30: East Town Business Partnership

3 p.m.–4:30 p.m. in a location to be determined

— Feb. 7: Native American community

5:30 p.m.–7 p.m. at All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Ave.

— Feb. 14: Minneapolis Downtown Council and Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce

4 p.m.–5:30 p.m. at a location to be determined

— Feb. 15: African American community

3 p.m.–5 p.m. at NEON, 1007 W. Broadway Ave.

— Feb. 15: General public

6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at Sabathani Community Center, 310 E. 38th St.

— Feb. 23: General public

6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N.

In December, Mayor Betsy Hodges, who previously opposed Minneapolis taking a go-it-alone approach to wages, said she would support a citywide minimum wage as long as it included tipped workers. Support for a $15 minimum wage is widespread among those who plan to run for City Council in 2017.

Go to learn more about the upcoming listening sessions or to read a copy of the report delivered to the council last fall. Minneapolis residents don’t have to attend a listening session to participate; email questions or feedback to [email protected]