workdayminnesota.org

After months of workers organizing, rallying, marching, and sharing stories about the need for stronger workplace protections and higher pay, the Minneapolis City Council last Friday introduced the subject matter of an ordinance ensuring fair scheduling, guaranteeing earned sick time and preventing wage theft. They also voted to approve studying a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Those steps came days after Target Field temp workers, who receive their schedules via text message only hours in advance and must then stand in line for hours unpaid to find out whether they will be working that day, rallied for fair scheduling and better pay outside the Twins stadium. Some 136 Target Field temp workers, most of whom are black, signed a petition calling for better working conditions at the Twins stadium and throughout Minneapolis.

“When we don’t have notice of our schedule, we can’t plan our lives, and that affects our families,” said Sondra Jones, who has worked at Target Field the last two summers. “Once when I received a text message telling me to come into work later that day, I had to cancel my plans to baby-sit for my sister. Since my sister didn’t have childcare that day, she couldn’t go in to work and lost her job. We need enough notice of our schedule to plan our lives and take care of our families.”

Hourly workers celebrated the Council’s action and urged lawmakers to pass strong ordinances to protect all workers.

“We should know our hours ahead of time so we can count on those hours and plan our lives accordingly,” said Steven Suffridge, a McDonald’s worker who has worked 16 years in fast food. “How will we pay our bills or go to the doctor if we don’t know how much money we’re going to make? These policies are important so we can take care of our basic needs and our families.”

Minneapolis Works, a coalition of community, labor and faith groups, is leading the campaign for the ordinance.