City wins court case on minimum wage

A Hennepin County District Court judge sided with Minneapolis in a lawsuit that sought to invalidate the city’s municipal minimum wage ordinance.

Mayor Jacob Frey described the outcome as “a big win for workers” that “solidifies Minneapolis as a laboratory of democracy.”

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce filed the lawsuit in November, less than two months before the first of the wage hikes called for in the ordinance took effect Jan. 1. Joined by co-plaintiffs TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association and Graco Inc., the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce argued the state set a minimum wage with the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and that a local wage ordinance would conflict with state law.

All of the plaintiffs except Graco, a Northeast Minneapolis-based manufacturer, had dropped out of the lawsuit by Feb. 28 when Judge Susan N. Burke denied their request to rule the municipal minimum wage ordinance invalid and prohibit the city from enforcing its wage rules. Burke wrote that the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act “sets a floor, not a ceiling, for minimum wage regulation.”
“Nothing in the MFLSA preempts local officials from imposing a higher minimum wage,” she wrote.

In a statement released Feb. 28, City Attorney Susan Segal said she was “very pleased with the outcome in this important case.”
“The court’s decision is well-reasoned and affirms the basic authority of the City to address local needs — in this case, by providing a minimum wage more in tune with costs of living in an urban center and that will promote the health and well-being of City workers through a more livable wage,” Segal said.