Judge denies Chamber's request to block new Mpls. minimum wage

A Hennepin County judge has denied a request by business groups to temporarily block Minneapolis' new minimum wage.

The first phase of the city's eventual $15 an hour minimum wage will take effect Jan. 1, bringing some workers' wages up to $10 an hour.

A lawsuit filed in November by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and others argued that the city's minimum wage ordinance should be blocked because it conflicts with state law and would affect communities outside the city of Minneapolis.

In a decision released Monday, Judge Susan Burke denied the plaintiffs request to issue a temporary injunction, writing that they didn't prove that the ordinance was outside the city's authority or that the general population of the state would be harmed if it went forward.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the decision reinforced that courts should show deference to city legislative actions.

"This is a clear signal by the court that the city acted properly in passing this minimum wage," Segal said. "It's not up to the bench to decide whether that this was a wise or unwise ordinance, but simply whether it was within the city's authority and a lawful ordinance."

Large businesses with more than 100 workers will be required to pay employees at least $10 an hour starting on New Year's Day. Workers at small businesses will need to be paid $10.25 by July 2018.

The new minimum wage will be implemented in a series of steps over six years. All workers in the city won't be guaranteed a $15 an hour wage until July 2024.

The Minneapolis City Council passed the minimum wage ordinance in June 2017. The city estimates that about 71,000 workers in the city will benefit from the increase.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The overall lawsuit will continue to be considered by the court. Other plaintiffs in the suit include TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Recruiting & Staffing Association and Graco Incorporated.

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