Hundreds of workers marched from the US Bancorp Center to Minneapolis City Hall Wednesday, calling on the City Council to support a citywide $15 minimum wage and guarantee workers paid sick time, fair scheduling and increased protection against wage theft.
The march and rally was organized by members of NOC, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle; 15Now MN and Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. NOC members led the march with a group of drummers and dancers as hundreds of workers and advocates followed through the downtown Minneapolis streets.
At the steps of city hall, Anthony Newby, executive director of NOC, spoke about a recent NOC study that surveyed more than 500 workers in north Minneapolis.
“Unlike these buildings and skyscrapers, north Minneapolis is a part of the city that is struggling. It’s been locked out a lot of the economic opportunity,” Newby said.
With the survey data NOC compiled, they published a report titled, Our Time Counts. Newby spoke about four of the results of the survey at the rally:
1. Fifty-five percent of hourly workers surveyed stated that they receive their schedules a week or less in advance.
2. About one quarter of hourly workers who were surveyed reported that unpredictable schedules made it difficult to go to school or get a second job.
3. Sixty-eight percent of hourly workers reported that their schedules changed from week to week.
4. Among hourly workers who received a week of advance notice of their schedules, 70 percent reported that they needed to have open availability – day or night.
Workers from the participating community organizations spoke about many of their struggles in low-wage jobs, citing instances of not receiving overtime pay, being denied sick time, working through breaks and “clopening” – when an employee must close late at night and open early the morning of following day.
Later, the rally continued inside City Hall where organizers called on Minneapolis City Council members to support new laws that would protect workers’ rights and raise the city’s minimum wage. Council members Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Jacob Frey, Elizabeth Glidden and Cam Gordon attended the rally and agreed to knock on doors in Minneapolis to survey individuals on workers’ rights.