Mayor Betsy Hodges said Monday she will support a minimum wage hike in Minneapolis, with the caveat that tipped employees must be included in it.
The announcement was a shift for Hodges. She has for months argued that a new minimum-wage plan should be passed at the regional level, and said she has worked with labor leaders, local elected officials and state legislators on a higher minimum wage for the metropolitan area.
But the results of the 2016 election persuaded her to focus on a Minneapolis ordinance, and she wants to help set the terms of a city minimum wage as the City Council prepares to tackle the issue in 2017.
“With dramatic changes in the state and national political landscapes, it is clear that the path to passing a higher national, statewide, or regional minimum wage has become far narrower,” Hodges said in a statement. “Despite my preference for a regional approach, in this context — and because it is clear that the City Council is moving toward action — I am laying out a set of principles for passing a higher minimum wage in Minneapolis.”
With city elections fewer than 11 months away, the announcement kicks off what likely will be several months of wrangling over the particulars of a citywide minimum wage.
A progressive wing of the council, and a cadre of progressive City Council candidates, are clamoring for a $15 minimum wage.
The final number is up for debate, along with the length of time it takes to phase in the minimum wage, potential exceptions for small businesses and the possibility of a tip credit for restaurants that argue their servers make well over a minimum wage in tips, and that should be included in their legally-required minimum wage.
Hodges staked out a position opposing an exception to the minimum wage for tipped employees if they earn more than the minimum when their tips are included.
Whatever Minneapolis passes, she said, “must not hold our tipped workers back — most of whom are women — or set a new, harmful precedent that will hurt tipped workers statewide.”