St. Louis Pressured to Keep $10 Minimum Wage

July 17, 2017

Recently, the city of St. Louis passed a law to raise it minimum wage to $10 an hour.

$10 an hour is more than $2 higher than any other city in the state of Missouri, and the amount was set to increase to $11 an hour in 2018. Many minimum wage employees were thrilled, considering overnight their income raised by more than 25%. That excitement was unfortunately short lived.

Missouri’s legislature just passed a bill to nullify the city law.

As of August 28, the city’s minimum wage will lower from $10 to $7.70. Families throughout the St. Louis area made lifestyle changes when the city law passed that will now have to be reversed. ¬†One woman affected by the change in minimum wage, Wanda Rogers, says, “Me and my family will go back to suffering. That means I will have to worry about, how am I going to pay my bills and have money left over to buy food and pay rent?”

A campaign has been started by a coalition of groups called “Save the Raise” that encourages St. Louis businesses to continue paying their workers at least $10 an hour.

For example, Southwest Diners’s co-owner Jonathan Jones, said his employees will keep their raise. He said, “It’s in our best interest to pay our employees well. It makes business sense for retention and morale in our business itself, but citywide, having more people with spending money is good for business too.”

Missouri’s Governor, Eric Greitens, defended the rollback, using the Seattle’s minimum wage increase t0 $15 an hour as an example. He said it ended up hurting low-paid workers because their hours were severely cut, leading to an average loss of income to $125 per month.

“The same thing was happening here in St. Louis. Restaurants were cutting jobs, they were cutting hours. We need to make sure we’re embracing policies that actually lead to more jobs and higher pay.” said Greitens.

Minimum Wage Increases Across the U.S.

Other cities across the U.S. have decided to make sizable minimum wage increase. For example, San Francisco has raised its hour wage to $14 an hour, Portland metro area is now $11.25 an hour, and Chicago is now $11 an hour.