Minnesota members near the finish line in the campaign for Earned Sick and Safe Time in Minneapolis

Minneapolis leaders make final push for Earned Sick and Safe Time ahead of Friday’s Council vote

In the final weeks leading up to the vote on the Earned Sick and Safe Time Policy in Minneapolis, Minnesota business owners committed to creating a healthier, more equitable city have been tearing apart opposition claims threatening a mass exodus of small businesses from Minneapolis. They have been pushing back on attempts to poke holes in the ordinance language, such as exempting youth workers and employees of small businesses.

Main Street Alliance members didn’t just support the language; they helped create it. Small businesses owners, including Minnesota members Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots Cafe and Abdirahman Kahin, owner of Afro Deli. The two served on the task force that held public hearings and worked for months to craft a common sense, practical policy that was a compromise between business owners and employees.

After the recommendations came out, small businesses from across Minneapolis, many of whom own restaurants, have met with Councilmembers, attended public hearings, and taken to social media in support of the policy. They have spoken at and hosted press conferences to support the ordinance language, which they believe will directly address Minneapolis’ racial disparities.

Tom DeGree and Dean Schlaak, owners of Wilde Café and Spirits, implemented sick days in advance of the ordinance and explained in an op-ed in MinnPost that the policy a win-win.  The Main Street Alliance advisory board members representing the smallest and largest businesses on the board, K.B. Brown of Wolfpack Promotionals and Lynn Hoffman of Eureka Recycling, co-authored an op-ed in the Star Tribune challenging the opposition narrative.

Cesia Baires, owner of Abi’s Café, and Scot Isqoox, owner of Capitol Café, each had letters to the editor printed to demonstrate their support for a policy that incorporates micro businesses like theirs.

Members from out of state even weighed in, giving accounts of their experiences running small businesses in cities and states with paid sick leave policies already on the books. Shaun Sieren, the owner of O'Neills Public House in Portland, joined a press call with Minnesota businesses about a report on the successful implementation of sick time ordinances across the country. Just a day before the City Council considers amendments, Tony Sandkamp, the owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in Jersey City and MSA New Jersey member, shared his experience in Jersey City, where a paid sick days policy passed first with an exemption for micro businesses and later expanded to all businesses in an op-ed in MinnPost.

During the final city council meeting before the vote, several members spoke in support of the Earned Sick and Safe Time measure. They shared their personal stories and showed Councilmembers the faces of Minneapolis’s small business community.

While the months of hard work and advocacy may soon be behind Minneapolis leaders, they will continue the conversation and carry the campaign into St. Paul and throughout the state of Minnesota. They will continue to work to ensure that all Minnesotans can recover from illness or care for a sick loved one without losing income and putting downward pressure on the local economy.

Check out some of the featured testimony:

Dan Swenson-Klatt, owner of Butter Bakery Café



Jason Rathe, owner of Field Outdoor Spaces



Julie Kearns, owner of Junket: Tossed and Found



Frank Brown, owner of Uptown Minuteman Press