Minnesota Chamber challenges Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance
The Minnesota Chamber, along with other business organizations, today filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance. The action also asks the court to prevent Minneapolis from enforcing the ordinance which is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2018.
A press release has been distributed statewide.
We do not take this action lightly, recognizing this is the second lawsuit we have filed against the city of Minneapolis regarding wage and benefit mandates on private-sector employers. Simply put, a patchwork of local laws creates burdensome and time-consuming regulations on employers and makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to have a compensation system that works for employees and employer alike.
Most troubling is that the city of Minneapolis seeks to regulate employers with employees working in Minneapolis, regardless of whether their physical offices are located within or outside the city limits.
Our concerns were underscored in Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon’s commentary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Local government needs to butt out of wage and sick leave mandates.”
Both lawsuits challenge the legality of the ordinances on the basis that they conflict with state law. We firmly believe that businesses are in the best position to frame wages and benefits that best suit their employees and their distinctive operations.
The Minneapolis minimum wage law sets the rate at $10 per hour on January 1, and it increases to $15 per hour in 2024. The law applies to any employer with employees working in Minneapolis as few as two hours per week.
Our first lawsuit challenges the sick and safe time ordinance, which went into effect July 1, 2017. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in September that the city may not require employers located outside the city limits to provide employees with certain paid leave. The court also ruled that, for now, the city could impose that mandate on employers located within the city. We are seeking review by the State Supreme Court.
We also continue to evaluate our legislative approaches to seeking uniform state labor standards. We advanced a bill last year to explicitly preempt local governments from enacting their own their minimum wage laws and mandates on businesses. The measure passed the House and Senate but was vetoed by Governor Dayton.
Our best defense to fighting workplace mandates at all levels of government is to go on the offense by presenting examples of what companies already are doing – voluntarily, without the force of government – in designing wage and benefit packages to attract and retain employees. To that end, we are collecting examples of “best practices” that we can share with the broader business community and policymakers.
Please send your members examples to Cam Winton at firstname.lastname@example.org.