SAINT PAUL, MN –Today, as Governor Dayton signed into law the bill to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota to $9.50 by 2016 and index it to inflation, workers praised lifting the pay floor in Minnesota as a step forward for families in our state, but acknowledged that there is still much work to do. Recognizing the hundreds of thousands of workers who will receive an raise and the benefit this will bring to our communities, workers praised the coalition who fought for the win and the legislative champions who made it happen.
Workers on the front line of our economy highlighted the positive personal impacts of this increase for over 350,000 workers in our state and why they will continue to fight for better wages for all workers.
“As someone who works taking care of others, I’ve seen how low wages can wreak havoc on a person’s health,” said Shaquonica Johnson, a home care worker and mother of two. “I have personal experience with low wages and also have seen too many others who do important work struggle to survive on poverty wages. I want to thank the coalition who fought to make sure the true reality facing workers was heard in this debate and the politicians who listened and raised the wage and indexed it to inflation. Making sure we lift the pay floor to $9.50 and index it to inflation is an important victory, but we still have much work to do to make sure all families have a fair chance to succeed.”
“For the children I see in our schools every day who have parents struggling to make ends meet, raising the minimum wage in Minnesota is an important step,” said Mike Poke, a custodian in the Wayzata schools and a member of SEIU Local 284. “We see too many parents who work hard but are unable to afford basic necessities for their children. This increase will help put more money in the pockets of Minnesota families, which benefits the children and will help support our schools. When working families are paid fairly and have money to spend, it helps our whole economy.”
The SEIU Minnesota State Council, representing the four SEIU Locals in the state, was a part of the Raise the Wage coalition, which brought together community, faith, labor, non-profit and service-based organizations in the fight to increase the state’s minimum wage.
SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, their own homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.