The Metropolitan Airports Commission decided Monday to raise the minimum wage for the lowest-paid employees at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to $10 an hour. Currently, most of them are paid the state minimum wage of $8 per hour.
Even so, the dozens of workers who packed the commission's meeting Monday afternoon were unhappy with the move, saying it doesn't go far enough, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Airport workers have joined in protests around the Twin Cities in recent weeks calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. They say they can't support their families on $10 an hour, and many of them must work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Kip Hedges, a labor activist, told the commission the $10 rate is "a slap in the face of everyone who is here and every low-wage worker at the airport," according to the Pioneer Press.
Airline representatives weren't happy either, saying it's unfair for a local entity like the MAC to single out the airline industry for higher wages, KSTP reports.
Commission members said they want to get some more research on the subject and will discuss whether to take the wage level even higher at their next meeting in June, according to the AP.
But the MAC Chairman, Dan Boivin, warned that $15 an hour is likely out of reach, saying there would be "hell to pay at the Legislature," according to the Pioneer Press.
That's because the Republican leaders in the Minnesota House have warned local units of government, including the airports commission, not to set a higher wage level than the state's minimum wage, the newspaper notes.
Minnesota's current minimum wage is $8 per hour, and it will increase to $9 per hour on Aug. 1.