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Appeals court upholds Minneapolis' $15 minimum wage

A local company said the city's minimum wage law conflicted with the state minimum wage.

The City of Minneapolis' decision to implement its own citywide minimum wage law has been backed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The appeals court ruled on a challenge to the wage rule that was passed in 2017 and enacted on Jan. 1, 2018, which eventually will see the minimum wage for city workers reach $15 at large businesses in 2022, and at small businesses in 2024.

Graco Inc. had sued the city over the wage law, arguing that it was preempted by the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets a statewide minimum wage of $9.86 per hour for large employers and $8.04 for small employers.

But the Court of Appeals, albeit in a divided vote, backed an earlier decision made by a district court, noting: "After a court trial, the district court concluded that the ordinance is not preempted by state law, declared the ordinance valid and enforceable, and denied a permanent injunction.

"We agree that the city’s minimum-wage ordinance is not preempted by state law."

You can read the full legal argument and decision here.

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The decision was welcomed by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who said in a statement: "Our minimum wage ordinance is here to stay.

"After more than a year of litigation, thousands of Minneapolis workers and families can rest a little easier knowing that the ordinance protecting their livelihoods is on firm legal ground. I commend our City Attorney's office for their excellent work."

This past November, St. Paul passed its own minimum wage ordinance that will also reach $15-per-hour by 2022 for large businesses, and 2024 for small businesses.

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