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Minneapolis City Council approves wage-theft ordinance

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Mya Bradford supports an ordinance that would prevent wage theft
Mya Bradford (center) is a restaurant worker in Minneapolis who supports an ordinance that would prevent wage theft. She gathered at Minneapolis City Hall Friday, June 21st 2019 with dozens of other supporters.
Brandt Williams | MPR News

The Minneapolis City Council on Thursday passed an ordinance designed to stop wage theft. It dovetails with a new state law that threatens steep fines and even imprisonment for employers who hold back worker pay. 

Minneapolis officials say the city’s new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, includes a provision banning employers with outstanding wage obligations from getting city contracts. 

Dozens of labor rights activists gathered at City Hall to cheer its passage. They included Henry Scott, who said he's fought with employers over getting paid for the number of hours he's worked.

"They want to explain to you that you didn't work these days, you didn't have these hours, your paperwork don't add up to their paperwork. And there's nothing actually you can do about it, until today,” Scott said.

Council members praised the cooperation between city leaders and labor in passing the law.

"This goes back to the working families agenda that we set out to do maybe four or five years ago,” said Lisa Bender, the City Council president. “These victories are those of the workers in our city."

MPR News reporter Brandt Williams contributed to this report.