On Wednesday the St. Paul City Council passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $15 over the coming years. It was later signed by Mayor Melvin Carter.
Workers responded to the passage of the ordinance on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall:
“I am excited to see that the Mayor and City Council have listened to the voices of workers and passed a $15 minimum wage. I am so happy to have been a part of this awesome and monumental change for our city. This will help me pay rent, medical expenses, and student loans. There is still work to be done around strengthened enforcement and getting raises to franchise workers in our industry!”
-- Sarah Kopp-Reddy, a tipped worker with Restaurant Opportunities Center of Minnesota who served on Citizens League Minimum Wage Study Committee, Saint Paul resident
“Today is a victory for the working people of Saint Paul. This law is very important. A $15 minimum wage will help a lot, for me and our city. It will make a difference paying for bills, housing, carnotes and transportation, childcare, medical expenses…Everything is expensive and it’s not free. People won’t be struggling as much. I know I would worry and stress less. My income isn’t enough to get my own place, I need to have a second job. I am homeless, and I’m not the only one. Many working people have to work multiple jobs and are still living paycheck to paycheck. This has big effects, on our families, children in schools, neighborhood businesses, and the health of our communities. Workers have been leading the way for this increase, for one fair wage, for all of us. Workers deserve to be heard regarding their working conditions at franchises and now that we won $15 we know we can win more. In order for this law to be successful, we need to know about our rights and that requires outreach and education. Wage Theft is a big problem especially for workers of color who make minimum wage, and we need to have a strong plan that makes sure everyone actually gets their money. Thank you for listening to workers, for standing with us. This minimum wage law is going to lift up working people and address racial inequalities in our city!”
-- Shalantra Taylor, McDonald’s worker, CTUL member
“In my 10-year working career, I have always been paid less than $15 an hour. This has resulted in me having to make hard and unnecessary choices for myself and my family. I’m a hard worker and this is a great move toward compensating working families. I am so very happy that Saint Paul has heard our sense of urgency and moved to change the lives of families like mine.”
-- Laura Stuart, faith leader with ISAIAH, St. Paul resident, and mother of three-year-old daughter.
“Nurses see the need for a living wage every day. Patients are coming to the hospital sicker than ever. They tell nurses they avoid medical care because they can’t afford it. A $15 minimum wage is a great step towards dignity for working people in Saint Paul”
-- Rose Roach, Executive Director, Minnesota Nurses Association, Saint Paul resident
"As someone who proudly lives and works in St. Paul, I believe that every family in our city should have what we need to take care of our loved ones and live full and happy lives. It doesn't take an expert to tell you that the current minimum wage doesn't even come close to making this a reality, so today's passage of the $15 minimum wage by the City Council and Mayor Carter is a huge step towards improving the lives of working families in St. Paul. As a home care worker and also as the person responsible for making sure my husband who has MS gets the care he needs, I know that raising wages mean better lives for not just the people getting the raise but for our whole community. I also am proud that the City Council heard the voices of home care workers and tipped workers and made sure not to repeat mistakes made in the past where policies like this moved some people forward but carved out work predominantly done by women and people of color."
--Sumer Spika, a home care worker, organizer with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, Saint Paul resident
"My fight for our $15 minimum wage was hard, but worth the trouble. I wish the minimum wage would be a year earlier, but it’s better than what was proposed before. I get the feeling of more of our actions will happen in the future. There is so much more to win."
-- ChueKongPheng Xiong, Johnson High School Student and Urban Roots employee
"It's a hard reality that too many folks work long days at two or three jobs just to make ends meet, hoping to God they can get health insurance through one of them. The people we pay the least are the same people we rely on to care for our children and elders. How can anyone be expected to do their best work - to raise our children, care for our elders, serve our community and lift people up - when they're trapped in the same systems of poverty as the people they're caring for? Raising St. Paul's minimum wage to $15 an hour won't just make life better for low-wage workers; it will improve care workers' ability to provide the community-enriching care and services we rely on so much. AFSCME looks forward to working with St. Paul City Hall over the coming weeks to ensure that every worker gets to $15 as soon as possible."
-- Tabitha Mitchell, Vice President of AFSCME Council 5 Local 1842, City of St. Paul Community Recreation Director and St. Paul resident
“My son Sam is a low-wage worker - one of many in St. Paul making minimum wage. Employers might call him unskilled or easily replaceable, but he does his grocery store job efficiently and well. He’s been at his grocery store job for six years and works hard. He deserves to be fairly compensated. Saint Paul led to pass the strongest sick and safe time ordinance in the country with our allies two years ago. I am very grateful that we are pushing to have a strong $15 minimum wage ordinance as well. I look forward to helping strengthen this ordinance with strong enforcement and further conversations about franchises.”
-- Gaye Sorenson, faith leader with ISAIAH, St. Paul resident