One year ago, a majority of Minneapolis' city government rejected a $15 wage, but upon pressure from residents and advocacy organizations, the City Council commissioned a study. The study, unsurprisingly concluded that increasing the municipal minimum wage to $15 per hour would immensely improve the wealth of low-wage workers, considering a small cost increase for business estimated to be made up from 5% increase in cost. In the past weeks, we have seen many of our leaders shift their view in support of a $15 minimum wage. This is largely due to the organizing work done by NOC, 15NOW, CTUL, SEUI, ISAIAH—proof that when we mobilize communities progress follows. That principal will define my administration.
At the State Legislature, three years ago, when we raised the minimum wage $2.25 from $7.25 to $9.50, I argued that we needed to go higher. My unwavering support for $15 is because, at its core, the living wage is an issue of racial, economic, and gender justice. When Minneapolis builds a plan to implement a living wage, we must write in provisions for regular wage increases with inflation. Else, we will face the present crisis—where the wage must be raised $5.50 sense to catch up with decades of neglect—once again.
The data supports an increase as well. According to an August 2016 Pew Research Survey, 52% of people favored increasing the federal minimum to $15 an hour. In 2015, even conservative-leaning The Economist, citing wage floors in other OECD nations said, following GDP per capita trends, they would expect the U.S. to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour.