Dayton calls for airport pay bump

Gov. Mark Dayton called for a higher minimum wage for airport workers during an appearance at a Muslim American Society of Minnesota event. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Gov. Mark Dayton wants the lowest paid workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to get a raise.

Dayton said Wednesday that he will urge the Metropolitan Airports Commission to establish a $10 an hour minimum wage for all airport workers, beginning immediately.

The current state minimum is $8, with scheduled increases to bring it to $9.50 by 2016.

During a speech at a Muslim American Society of America event near the Capitol, Dayton said airport workers deserve to earn a higher wage.

“The airport industry can afford it,” Dayton said. "One thing about raising the minimum wage at the airport is there’s not going to be a threat to pick it up and move it to South Dakota or to China or to somewhere else. It’s our airport. It’s a public entity and public facility. It ought to better reflect our values as a citizenry.”

Dayton said his proposal was inspired by economic struggles of Ibrahim Mohamed, the minimum-wage earning airport worker he appointed a MAC commissioner last month. Mohamed, of Rosemount, is married with five children.

Legislation moving through the Minnesota House would prevent local units of government from enacting a minimum wage that is different from the state minimum wage.

Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, is the bill’s sponsor. Albright said private employers with multiple locations should have certainty about their labor costs.

“We have a state minimum wage, and that should be sufficient and satisfactory,” Albright said.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.