Judge Rules for Minneapolis in Minimum Wage Challenge

Judge Rules for Minneapolis in Minimum Wage Challenge Photo: KSTP

February 28, 2018 01:52 PM

A district court judge has ruled in favor of the city of Minneapolis in a challenge to the city's $15 minimum wage ordinance. 

Graco Inc. was one of four entities to bring a civil suit against the city in an effort to declare the law invalid, arguing, in part, the city did not have the power to pass an ordinance the plaintiffs believed would conflict with state law.

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RELATED: Business Organizations Sue Minneapolis Over Minimum Wage Ordinance

The company said it has suffered increased vendor costs for custodial services because of the ordinance, and that, in addition to having to pay increased wages, it has incurred expenses for record keeping and payroll to comply with the law.

Fourth District Judge Susan Burke ruled the city's ordinance is not preempted by state law, and would not adversely impact outstate Minnesota residents. 

"Nothing in the (Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act) indicated that minimum wage regulation is solely a matter of state concern, and the MFLSA has not so fully covered the subject of minimum wages that it has become solely a matter of state concern," Burke's order reads. 

Minneapolis approved the ordinance in July in part to address racial and income disparities after finding 48 percent of city workers earned less than a living wage, and 84,000 residents lived below the federal poverty level, according to the order. 

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Twin West Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association had also been plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in November. Those entities later dropped out. 

RELATED: Minneapolis City Council Passes $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

The organizations had voiced concern the ordinance would "burden Minnesota employers, discourage business investment in Minnesota, and hamper operation of business in and around the city of Minneapolis," according to the lawsuit.

Under the new law, businesses with more than 100 people have five years to raise wages to $15 per hour. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees have seven years to reach the threshold. 

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Michael Oakes

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