The Minnesota Senate’s vote to increase the state minimum wage to $7.75 an hour is “a small step forward,” the Minnesota AFL-CIO said.

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would increase the state minimum wage to $7.75 per hour over three years. This is in contrast to the House bill that increases the rate to $9.50 per hour over three years and preserves its value by tying future increases to inflation.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson issued the following statement in response:

“While it’s encouraging to see the Senate moving on increasing the minimum wage, we prefer the House version, which would make a significant difference in low-wage workers’ lives.

“The minimum wage has continued to lose value over the last 40 years. If the minimum wage had retained its 1968 value – its peak purchasing power – the minimum wage would be closer to $10.55 per hour. The House bill begins to restore the minimum wage’s value and ensures that the wage will keep its value through inflationary increases.

“A significant increase in the minimum wage would mean a boost in consumer spending and including low-wage workers in Minnesota’s economic recovery. The Senate bill unfortunately falls short.

“As lawmakers head into conference committee, they should listen to the broad coalition the faith, labor, non-profit groups, and small business owners calling for a minimum wage increase that will make hard work pay again.”

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