Twin Cities workers push for better pay and clear benefits on Labor Day

That includes a $15 minimum wage and posters explaining workers' time off rights.
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Workers in the Twin Cities went on strike and gathered at some high-profile businesses on Labor Day to push for higher wages and better benefits.

The gatherings started around 5:30 a.m. in St. Paul, first at a McDonald's where 15 Now Minnesota says 27 workers were on strike as part of the organized demonstration.

More followed, including at a Home Depot where a "salsadarity dance party" was held to show support for janitors there.

A Burger King was also the site of a demonstration.

The coordinated effort was spearheaded by the groups Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL for short) and 15 Now Minnesota.

Many of the demonstrators were voicing support for a new minimum wage – $15 an hour. That's something the City of Minneapolis plans to have implemented by 2022 after a vote in June (which the governor also helped pave the way for after some drama with lawmakers).

Workers in the other twin city of St. Paul, where the Labor Day action started, follow the statewide minimum wage, which is set to go up to $9.65 an hour starting Jan. 1 (for large employers at least).

Paid time off benefits

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul established new rules regarding paid time off for workers starting July 1 of 2017.

Full-time, part-time and temp workers are all eligible to accrue the time off in both cities (though there are some different rules right now for smaller employers).

The strikes Monday also addressed education around those new policies, and asked for the businesses to put up posters detailing workers' rights.

"We will call on the city to fully fund enforcement including funding for community outreach and education and the critical work of enforcement that will help put an end to Wage Theft and other violations of workers Rights. We will call on employers to respect workers rights!" CTUL's announcement about the strike said.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a vocal proponent for a $15 minimum wage, was also at the demonstrations. 

Strikes across the country

There were strikes and demonstrations across the country Labor Day, in support of similar goals.

That includes in:

Meanwhile in Rochester, Minnesota, people gathered to celebrate workers' rights victories and push for even more change, such as affordable housing. 

Who earns minimum wage in Minnesota?

A study published over the summer found nearly 250,000 Minnesotans are paid minimum wage.

Of those, nearly half are over 25 years old, more than two-thirds work somewhere other than food or drink businesses, and the vast majority have at least a high school diploma.

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