10 violations against Mpls employers not increasing min wage

“There have been ten reports of violations to date; seven of those are on-going investigation."

Edgar Linares
June 06, 2018 - 8:11 pm

By Edgar Linares

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For many small businesses in downtown Minneapolis, the wage increase beginning on July 1 of $10.25 will have little impact. 

“For our downtown locations everybody’s already making way over that,” said Frank Gambino, owner of Andrea's Pizza in the downtown Minneapolis skyway.

Gambino believes he would not be able to find anyone to work in downtown Minneapolis for $10.25 an hour. Especially with the challenge of commuting into the city and then trying to find affordable parking.

The road to $15 per hour started back on Jan. 1, of this year. That’s when large companies with 100 employees or more were required to increase their minimum wage to $10 per hour. Currently, the state’s Minimum wage is $9.65 per hour.

On July 1, small employers with fewer than 100 employees will be required to increase their pay to $10.25/hour, and for large employers another increase to $11.25/hour will take effect.

“What we found was that a vast majority of large employers were already paying above the $10 rate,” said Brian Walsh, the Compliance Supervisor for the Minneapolis Labor Standards Enforcement Division.

However, since the January pay increase, several violations have been filed with the city against large employers not complying with the new ordinance.

“There have been ten reports of violations to date. Seven of those are on-going investigations. Two of them we did not have jurisdiction to enforce at that time because the employee involved was employed at a small employer, according to Walsh.

Walsh says one of the violations involved a national chain. He says when the chain realized the new city ordinance was in effect they quickly increased the pay.

“We were able to ensure all the employees in that location were able to receive back pay,” said Walsh.

But others are not so quick to make the correction. Walsh says they’re in the process of negotiating a resolution with a large employer, and says he’s confident “at a minimum the employees will be made whole”. Walsh couldn’t disclose the companies involved at this time until the dispute is resolved.

For some time now, Walsh and others have been informing companies and business owners of the new ordinance. And they’ll continue making sure people “get the message”.

For those employers who are not complying with the increase, Walsh is encouraging staff members to file a complaint with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, in City Hall room 239, or call Minneapolis 311 for help.

Here’s how the wage increases break down:

Courtesy City of Minneapolis

By 2024 the city minimum wage will be $15. For small businesses like Gambino’s, changes await.

“Obviously a little raise in product and little less hours,” said Gambino. He also said that it may not matter by 2024. “If everything’s booming and everybody’s busy, it’s not a big deal. But if we’re not, than it will be a big deal.”