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Momentum Building For $9.50 MN Minimum Wage

Supporters of raising Minnesota's minimum wage say that would help working families. GRAPH by EPI, based on federal figures.
Supporters of raising Minnesota's minimum wage say that would help working families. GRAPH by EPI, based on federal figures.
February 7, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Momentum is building behind raising the state minimum wage to at least $9.50 an hour and pegging it to the cost of living.

Mayors and city councils in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Hibbing are coming out in favor.

They, along with public officials from smaller communities, are joining Gov. Mark Dayton in pressing state lawmakers to raise the wage.

Danon Reives is a 34-year-old cook and dishwasher in Duluth who says that's real leadership that could make a difference in the lives of people like him.

"It's kind of like an everyday struggle,” he says. “Do I buy a pack of deodorant, or do I buy bread? Milk?

“Do I make my rent or do I eat? Do I hold onto this 50 cents or do I just go ahead and spend it?"

According to Minnesota's Raise the Wage Coalition, the increase would help more than 350,000 in the state, including nearly 140,000 children of the working poor.

Critics of increasing the wage say minimum-wage employees are mostly entry-level workers, often teenagers earning pocket money.

But according to state and federal figures, four out of five are 20 or older, and many are trying to support families.

Reives says when he was married, he and his wife were both working low-wage jobs to support their children.

"I was working two minimum-wage jobs at the time, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't,” he relates. “There was a few times the hot water got turned off. Had to sit there for a month heating up water through the coffee maker."

Reives says these days after child support he brings home less than $200 a week.


Dan Heyman, Public News Service - MN