Minneapolis City Council approves ‘right to recall’ ordinance for hospitality workers

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a "right to recall" ordinance designed to help laid-off hospitality workers get their jobs back when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Minneapolis employers covered by the ordinance — hotels with more than 50 guest rooms and event centers with at least 50,000 rentable square feet or 2,000 fixed seats — will be required to give priority to their laid-off employees when hiring.

The ordinance applies to laid-off employees who worked at least six months at a specified hotel or event center between March 13, 2019, and March 13, 2020, and were laid off for an economic, non-disciplinary reason.

The City Council passed the ordinance the same day Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota is rolling back restrictions on social gatherings, bars and restaurants, health clubs and entertainment venues.

Statewide, approximately 116,000 jobs have been lost in been lost in bars, restaurants, hotels, event centers and similar businesses, according to Hospitality Minnesota.

Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 residents could fall under the "right to recall" ordinance.

"The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and people who work at hotels and event centers deserve the peace of mind to know that they will be part of that reopening,” Fletcher said in a statement. “I authored this ordinance to make sure that they can get their jobs back as things reopen, and to make sure everyone’s included as we get back on our feet after such a difficult year."

However, Hospitality Minnesota has criticized the measure, saying it creates an unnecessary burden for employers to fill out their staffs as quickly as possible.

Republican state lawmakers have pushed back against similar bills introduced in the Legislature, arguing that plenty of jobs will be available once businesses open back up.