Groups opposed to St. Louis minimum wage hike want another day in court

Mar 15, 2017

The business organizations that took St. Louis' law to raise the minimum wage to the Missouri Supreme Court filed a motion Wednesday for it to be reheard.

It was the last day they could challenge last month's ruling that upheld the city's law.

A phone call to one of the attorneys for the businesses was not immediately returned.

But St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he expected the move.

“It just delays things, so it gives the state legislature longer time to do whatever it wants to do,” Slay said.

The mayor recently has testified before Missouri House and Senate committees against a bill that is moving quickly and would prevent any Missouri city from raising its minimum wage beyond the statewide minimum of $7.70.

St. Louis’ law sets the minimum at $10 this year and would raise it again to $11 next year. For now the mayor said the city is unable to enforce the increase because a lower court injunction remains in place, a situation he said is confusing for some businesses and workers.

“It has nothing to do with what we’re doing or not doing in the city,” he said. “We’re all being impacted by external forces.”

A small group of protesters with Show Me $15 gathered Wednesday outside of a north city McDonald’s during the lunch rush. The fast food workers said they want their employers to start paying the higher wage now.

Nicole Rush said she works at McDonalds currently for a little more $8 an hour, and often has to choose between which bills to pay each month.

“You can’t live off $7.65, you can’t off $8; you can’t live off $9,” Rush said. “That’s not a livable wage at all.”

The National Law Employment Law Project also released a policy brief Wednesday regarding what it called “interference” by the legislature. It said St. Louis employees had lost out on nearly $35 million in wages since the law was supposed to take effect in October 2015.

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