Minneapolis is set to become to the first mid-western city in the US to pass a $15 per hour minimum wage. At the end of May, Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a directive to draw up an ordinance for the wage boost.
The win is the result of community and union mobilisations over the last few years. The call for $15 an hour in Minneapolis was first made during the election campaign of Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore in 2013. Subsequently, the ‘15 Now’ campaign was set up in conjunction with workers’ rights groups. The campaign eventually won the support of the most progressive trade unions.
At the time of writing, there is still a fight taking place over how $15 will be introduced. Major corporations like McDonalds are arguing for a 5-year phase-in, while campaigners are demanding the immediate introduction of $15. The amount of pressure exerted on city council will impact the final decision.
Even if concessions are made regarding the phase-in period, raising the minimum wage to $15 represents the biggest victory for Minneapolis workers in decades. Over 70,000 workers will be better off, with about $140 million per year set to be transferred from big business to the pockets of workers.
In Seattle, a $15 minimum wage was passed within six months of Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant being elected to the city council. Sawant has since been re-elected and continues to be a fighter for working class interests.
In Minneapolis, it’s Socialist Alternative member, Ginger Jentzen who has been a key leader in the fight for $15. Having worked tirelessly for the 15 Now campaign, Jentzen is now running for city council in November. If elected, Jentzen will use her platform to provide a voice for working class people and to challenge big business greed.
By Kat Galea