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The Work Week with Bassford Remele
January 22, 2024
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Bassford Remele Employment Practice Group
Labor Standards Boards:
A New Trend Targeting The Workplace
Once again, the City of Minneapolis appears to be at the forefront of efforts to improve working conditions. Not too long ago, Minneapolis was the first city in Minnesota to pass a wage theft ordinance. This time, the City is on the verge of becoming the first city in Minnesota to establish a Labor Standards Board (and one of the first in the nation). Typically, such boards address concerns related to workplace conditions, wages, and employee rights to foster equitable and just work environments for employees.
Minneapolis’ Labor Standards Board
The specific structure and authority of the City’s proposed Labor Standards Board is not fully known, but early reports indicate that it will be an “advisory body comprised of representatives of both industry and labor who [will] study and recommend new workplace regulations to the City Council and mayor.” The mayor and City Council will then determine whether to implement the Labor Standards Board’s recommendations. Additionally, the Board may be further broken down into subgroups specific to particular industries, such as rideshares, childcare, and food service.
Employers can anticipate such things as minimum compensation requirements and increased safety measures in the workplace. Although the proposed Labor Standards Board will not have the authority to implement any ordinances, the mayor and City Council will very likely give the recommendations great deference.
Other Labor Standards Boards
Labor standards boards are a fairly new phenomenon. Only a few such boards exist throughout the United States. Unlike the proposed Minneapolis Labor Standards Boards, existing boards are generally limited to a particular industry, and each board’s power and authority is varied. For example, during the 2023 legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers established the Nursing Home Standards Board which has the power to set nursing home employees’ wages and benefits. Michigan has a similar board. Colorado and New York have boards, but they are limited to the farming industry. Nevada and the cities of Seattle and Philadelphia have boards that address the working conditions for domestic workers.
Assuming the City of Minneapolis’ proposed Labor Standards Board becomes a reality (which all signs indicate will happen), employers who operate in the City or whose employees work in the City will need to remain vigilant for changes to the City’s ordinances. Additionally, as with wage theft, it is quite likely that other cities, such as St. Paul, Duluth, Mankato, and Bloomington will join the trend and implement similar boards.
At Bassford Remele, we have extensive experience advising employers on new and changing laws, regulations, and ordinances from the federal level to the local level. Please reach out to the Employment Law practice group for guidance, questions, or further assistance. We are here to help.
 https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-officials-promote-labor-standards-board/600336348/ (last visited January 20, 2024.)
 https://minnesotareformer.com/2023/09/22/worker-advocates-push-for-nation-leading-labor-standards-boards-in-minneapolis/ (last visited January 20, 2024.)
The Work Week with Bassford Remele, 1-22-24 (print version)
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