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Mpls. Moves Forward With $15 Minimum Wage Plan

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Minneapolis City Council is moving ahead with plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour.

The pay hike would be phased-in over the next five years.

The council drafted a proposal Tuesday to raise the wage for every worker in the city -- no matter the size of the business.

Minneapolis would join a handful of cities with a $15 minimum wage.

Despite some reservations, it could be the first city to apply the wage to all businesses -- large and small.

Downtown Minneapolis
Downtown Minneapolis (credit: CBS)

"Cities are very much becoming the laboratory of democracy," said City Councilmember Jacob Frey. "Especially at a time when we've got gridlock at state and federal legislatures. And we are in a position to act to help people."

For now, it's a tentative plan to raise the wage over five years. Large businesses with more than 100 workers would front-end-load higher pay hikes early.

Small businesses with fewer than 100 workers could raise wages more slowly.

But all workers in Minneapolis would earn $15 an hour by 2022.

Destiny Davis is a server at Mercy Restaurant in Minneapolis. She says a pay hike to $15 will make her life easier.

"I want to be able to live comfortably," Davis said. "Fifteen dollars would just give me the right cushion and the right backup to start adulting."

But critics say a $15 wage will cripple Minneapolis businesses. Kathleen Harrell-Latham represents the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association. They place thousands of temporary workers at businesses every day.

"It's really hard because employers can't plan ahead necessarily," Harrell-Latham said. "They're just trying to operate their business and generate revenue so they can keep those jobs."

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill just last week that would have stopped the city from passing a $15 wage.

If it becomes law, Minneapolis would join New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

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