Workers who have been fighting for this increase expressed their satisfaction that the group seemed to understand the urgency of addressing poverty wages in St. Paul.
“A $15 minimum wage will allow youth just like me to to provide for families just like mine and create an affordable life, and lower the poverty rate in our communities,” said Marquise Tatum, a 16-year-old who testified for the Study Committee about why he supports a $15 minimum wage with no carve-out for young workers or youth training programs. “With the support of the Citizens League, we are now one step closer to achieving $15 Now!”
The recommendations confirm the position that Saint Paul residents and workers have championed for more than a year through rallies, demonstrations, and neighborhood organizing. Last November, voters elected Mayor Melvin Carter in a landslide in part due to his clear stance on $15 with no tip penalty to be passed within the year and implemented as soon as possible. Last week, voters reaffirmed that mandate by electing Mitra Nelson to the Ward 4 City Council seat after Nelson campaigned clearly on a $15 One Fair Wage platform.
“I'm glad to see the Study Committee recognized the urgent need for a $15 minimum wage to address the crisis of poverty in Saint Paul,” said Tou Vang, and organizer with Hmong Americans for Justice who attended many Study Committee meetings as an observer. “In addition to the Committee’s research and discussion, it’s clear the outcomes of the process were influenced by years of workers rallying, striking, and organizing for living wages and dignity.”
The recommendations conclude the Citizens League’s ten-month process to research the implications of a minimum wage increase and craft policy recommendations for the City Council and Mayor. With the conclusion of the Citizens League study, the city is now preparing to draft and pass and ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 along a timeline similar to Minneapolis, where large businesses will pay $15 by 2022, and small businesses by 2024.
The Citizens League has published the final report on its website a citizensleague.org/minwage.