The Minneapolis City Council will likely lay out the basics of a minimum wage ordinance at a meeting Friday, and raising it to $15 an hour without a tip credit is all but certain.

The council will ask staff, which is already working on an ordinance, to prepare a proposal for a meeting on June 5. A public hearing will be June 22, and the council should be voting on a municipal minimum wage before the end of June. Such a move would make Minneapolis the latest in a string of major U.S. cities to pass a dramatically increased municipal minimum wage.

“I can’t imagine us not having $15 an hour,” said Council Member Lisa Bender. “The big question is how do we deal with the phasing.”

A range of timelines for introducing the minimum wage — from four years up to eight years, depending on business size — are under discussion ahead of the meeting. Council Member Jacob Frey, who is running for mayor, said he wants to give the public a clearer idea of what’s coming.

“This has been rolling around for a while, and it’s time to provide some clarity,” he said, adding that people need “basic parameters” so they can give input.

Friday’s meeting will come a day after city staff presented a report on the minimum wage to the City Council.

The report doesn’t recommend a specific wage, but suggests the city raise the minimum to at least $12.49 per hour and make no exception for tipped workers.

It says the new wage should apply to anyone who works in the city and be phased in over at least four years. The report comes after 16 listening sessions across the city and more than 1,700 responses to a city-distributed survey.

A higher minimum wage — perhaps $15 an hour — has been under discussion at City Hall since January when Mayor Betsy Hodges came out firmly opposed to what she and others call a “tip penalty.”

Since then, a majority of council members have said they would support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour with no exceptions.

But that has frustrated many restaurant owners and servers who continue to say tips should be counted toward wages. Without such an exemption, they say, the move would harm their businesses and their workers.

A few restaurant owners and several advocates with 15 Now attended Thursday’s meeting. Rose Von Muchow, a barista at the Purple Onion cafe in Dinkytown, said the problem with her job is that wages are inconsistent. On average, she probably makes about $15 per hour, but some days are slower than others, and she thinks it’s important to guarantee all workers $15 an hour, before tips.

She’s sympathetic to small business concerns about a higher minimum wage, but only to a point, and she thinks Minneapolis should set an example for the rest of the Midwest.

“Ideologically, I sympathize more with the workers,” Von Muchow said. “Do you value your workers’ livelihoods? Do you care about your communities? I would say as an employer you have a responsibility to pay your workers a livable wage.”

 

Twitter: @adambelz