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St. Paul City Leaders Propose $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It has taken months of work from a coalition of businesses, unions and low-wage workers. The result is a proposed $15 minimum wage ordinance the city council can pass and employers will hopefully support.

"We should be on schedule to pass the $15 minimum wage ordinance by the end of this year," said City Councilmember Chris Tolbert.

The plan would involve a phased in hike in the minimum wage, ranging from five, seven and nine years.

For the largest businesses employing more than 100 workers, the minimum would be reached by 2023. Workers at smaller businesses with under 100 employees will reach it in 2025.

The so-called "micro businesses" -- with five or fewer employees -- will pay the $15 minimum by 2027.

The ordinance does not include a tip credit, which the hospitality union fought hard against. It means that servers will be entitled to the $15 minimum wage without factoring in their earnings from gratuities.

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(credit: CBS)

"We want those employees to have the same predictability in their family budgets as we aspire for all our families," said Mayor Melvin Carter.

Minneapolis is already requiring employers phase in the $15 minimum wage.

Wade Luneburg represents the 6,000 member Hospitality Workers Union Local 17, which has lobbied hard for the wage hike.

"We're pleased to see it has some of the same as Minneapolis, which should allay some of the concerns some industries had about a patchwork approach," Luneburg said.

Once the $15 wage is reached, annual increases would be tied to the rate of inflation. That is something workers say has long been needed.

"I think it's very important to understand that wages were not increasing with the rate of inflation, so our wages stayed the same but inflation increases," said worker Abu Nayeem.

The ordinance will get its first reading on October 17, with second reading on the 24th. It is expected there will be a public hearing on the ordinance November 7, with the goal of getting it enacted by the first of the year.

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