Minimum Wage | St. Louis Public Radio

Minimum Wage

File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A bill intended to quash St. Louis' minimum wage increase looked to be on the fast track this session, but is now on hold in the Missouri Senate as Republicans mull an overture to Democrats to avoid a filibuster.

 

Senate Democrats have been threatening to block House Bill 1194/1193, which, as currently written, would bar cities and counties from raising the minimum wage higher than the state's $7.65 an hour rate.

They say the measure would deny cities and counties the freedom to decide how much their citizens should be paid.

Fast food workers take part in a protest organized by Show Me $15 outside a McDonald's on Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis on March 15, 2017. They want the city's $10 minimum wage increase to be enforced immediately.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Rep. Jean Evans
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jenny Simeone welcome state Rep. Jean Evans to the program.

The Manchester Republican is serving her first term in the Missouri House. She represents the 99th state House District, which takes in Manchester, Valley Park and Twin Oaks.

Missouri House members debate legislation to undo St. Louis' minimum wage law on March 9, 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is OK with St. Louis raising its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Missouri lawmakers are a different story.

The House passed combined House bills 1194/1193 that would block St. Louis, Kansas City and other cities from boosting the minimum wage above the state’s, which is currently $7.70 an hour. That wage is adjusted for inflation every Jan. 1.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signs an increase in the St. Louis minimum wage into law on Aug. 28, 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:50 p.m. Feb. 28 — St. Louis' minimum wage can go up to $11 by 2018, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Its unanimous opinion ruled that a 2015 ordinance does not conflict with the state’s minimum wage of $7.65 an hour.

Protesters gathered outside a downtown St. Louis Hardees on Thursday in opposition to Donald Trump's selection for Labor Secretary
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, is getting criticism on his home turf.

The St. Louis native is CEO of the company that owns Hardees and Carl’s Junior, CKE Restaurants.

About 50 protesters gathered outside Hardees headquarters in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, questioning whether the fast food CEO would really represent workers’ interests. They then walked a couple of blocks to stand in front of a Hardees restaurant.

Nearly 100 people demonstrated outside the Missouri Supreme Court shortly after two cases were argued seeking higher minimum wages in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing two cases, one from St. Louis and the other from Kansas City, seeking to allow higher minimum wages in each place.

At issue is a law enacted during last year's veto session that bars cities from enacting a minimum wage that's higher than that set by the federal or state government. House Bill 722 was passed in response to both cities seeking higher minimum wages, along with Columbia's efforts to ban plastic grocery bags.

Demonstrators march to Missouri Capitol to call for a $15 and hour minimum wage
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Around 200 demonstrators were in Jefferson City Monday calling for Missouri to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage and other reforms to help the state's low income and minority communities.

Most of them traveled by bus on Monday from Kansas City, and once they arrived marched into the State Capitol and staged a rally. One of the leaders was Rodney Williams, a Kansas City pastor who's also one of the so-called Medicaid 23 who was arrested two years ago for demonstrating in the Missouri Senate visitors gallery.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
File photo | Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Monday is the last day of the Board of Aldermen session that began back in April. Things start fresh again the very next day.

Aldermen introduced 324 bills in the 41 weeks they were in session. Ninety-two percent of them passed, most without fanfare or controversy. Some, however, rose to the level of national news. Here is a look back at the aldermanic session that was.

Cara Spencer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On another edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderman Cara Spencer to the program for the first time.

Spencer represents the city’s 20th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. The ward includes several south St. Louis neighborhoods, including Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Dutchtown. And it takes in part of Cherokee Street, one of St. Louis’ most eclectic business districts.

From center: Sens. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, waits for a presser to start with Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

After St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay threw his support behind raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer issued a stern warning.

The Columbia Republican penned a letter to his colleagues that if St. Louis (and Kansas City) enacted minimum wage hikes, lawmakers should eliminate the cities’ earnings taxes. That’s the 1 percent income tax on anybody who lives, works or owns a business in either city.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Professors Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer were startled to recently find a trend in American poverty that they hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s: the number of American households living on around $2, per person, per day has reached 1.5 million, including 3 million children.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-wage workers in St. Louis will not be getting the raise they expected on Thursday.

Judge Steven Ohmer ruled Wednesday afternoon that a law boosting the city's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018 violated Missouri's Constitution because it conflicted directly with state law. The first increase, to $8.25 an hour, was to take effect at midnight Wednesday.

The city's Civil Courts Building, where a challenge of St. Louis' minimum wage law was heard.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The fate of St. Louis’ minimum wage law is in the hands of a judge.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer heard arguments on Tuesday over a law raising the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. A coalition of businesses and business groups are challenging the measure in court.

After roughly two hours of arguments, Ohmer promised to deliver a quick ruling on the lawsuit. He had previously promised to decide on the validity of the law by October 15, the day that the city’s minimum wage is expected to rise from $7.65 to $8.25 an hour. 

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert chats with St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nick Pistor before a judge ruled against a temporary restraining order for the city's minimum wage law.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When attorneys resume a legal fight this week over St. Louis’ minimum wage law, the atmosphere will be very different from when they first clashed in the courtroom.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert and omnipresent litigator Jane Dueker are set to resume a high-stakes legal battle on Tuesday morning. Dueker is representing businesses and business groups seeking to dismantle St. Louis’ law raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Calvert (along with private attorneys from Dowd Bennett) is defending the statute.

Alderman Lyda Krewson
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson to the show.

The Moberly native has represented the city’s 28th Ward since 1997. Her ward includes some of the city’s most popular attractions, such as Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo, part of ‘The Loop’ and the Central West End business districts.

Antonia Banks and her son John Paul testify on Thursday at the Board of Aldermen's Ways and Means Committee. They were speaking in support of a bill exempting sheltered workshops from a mnimum wage hike.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is closer to exempting sheltered workshops from the city’s new minimum wage law.

When the city raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018, it didn’t exempt sheltered workshops. Those are facilities that provide job opportunities to people with developmental disabilities – and often pay less than the minimum wage.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh led a legal roundtable to talk about local and national legal issues pressing our region today. Uber and anti-trust law were a big focus of the hour, along with the legal implications of the Ferguson Commission’s recommendations, the possibility of minimum wage increases in Missouri, police use of force, the Kim Davis saga and more.

Listen here for the full rundown:

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert chats with St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nick Pistor before a judge ruled against a temporary restraining order for the city's minimum wage law.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis judge quashed an attempt to temporarily freeze a law raising the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018.

And the high-stakes legal battle over the measure is expected to resume next month.

Missouri Restaurant Association CEO Robert Bonney speaks out against Cohn's minimum wage proposal. Bonney says St. Louis' minimum wage push would hurt eateries that already operate on tight margins.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated after court hearing - St. Louis’ newly enacted minimum wage law is facing an expected legal challenge.

Several prominent business groups are party to a suit filed to strike down a law raising the city’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018. Among other things, the lawsuit contends the law violates several state statues and was improperly drafted. (Click here to read the lawsuit.)

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On Labor Day, we celebrate work by not working. How appropriate. Our attitudes about work are often contradictory, and current work-related debates raise puzzling questions.

Take the minimum wage. Recently, St. Louis decided to increase it; St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger reiterated why the suburbs would not, as Jason Rosenbaum reported.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis last week started the process to raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018, some policymakers and activists hoped the move would spur St. Louis County to follow suit.

“It would be great if the county came along with us,” said St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. “I think that is one of the major issues with the bill. We need to have this on a much broader spectrum than just the city.”

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Aldermen completed a harrowing process to raise the city’s minimum wage – a decision that supporters say will help the city's low-income workers.

But few believe that Friday’s affirmative vote marks the last word in the minimum wage saga, especially if businesses or business groups pursue legal action to invalidate the newly enacted ordinance.

Aldermen President Lewis Reed during debate
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has given initial approval to raising the minimum wage in St. Louis to $11 an hour by 2018. The vote was 15-6.

The bill faces one more vote. Throughout the long debate, two factions formed: those who want to see a significant increase in base-line pay and those who fear that an increase will alienate businesses and drive them into St. Louis County or across the river to Illinois. Both sides say they want the best for low-wage workers.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the clock ticking, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen was scheduled to tackle legislation on Tuesday morning that would raise the city’s minimum wage. 

This bill stokes passion on both sides of the issue, and is likely being monitored around the region and across the state.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, wants to raise the county's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council has sided with County Executive Steve Stenger by firmly killing off a proposal to increase the county’s minimum wage to $15 within five years.

The bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, failed to get a “second’’ from any of her four colleagues when she attempted to bring up the measure for discussion.  As a result, the bill died.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A decade after their last successful effort, Missouri backers of a higher minimum wage believe that 2016 may finally be their year for a successful replay.

“The ground is shifting really quickly in this country around the minimum wage,’’ said Lara Granich, Missouri director for the St. Louis-based group called Jobs With Justice. “The momentum is really growing, month by month.”

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, wants to raise the county's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Weeks after St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger appeared to shut the door on a minimum wage increase, his chief rival on the county council is angling to bring the issue back into the forefront.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby said in a press release on Monday that she has requested legislation increasing the minimum wage in St. Louis County. The University City Democrat said that she wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the push for increasing minimum wage in St. Louis resumed, two of the city’s top Democratic leaders

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed in a letter released to the media rejected the latest proposal on minimum wage, stating that it “falls way short of providing relief to working families” while at the same time “institutes new system of inequalities, disincentives for students, and loopholes.”

City attorney Winston Calvert reisgned Nov. 18 2015
File photo Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Trying to best describe the legal status of local minimum wage increases is like wrapping your arms around an eel.

That’s because discussions around St. Louis and Kansas City minimum wage hikes have proceeded under the cloud of a now-vetoed bill, known as HB 722, that would have banned local minimum wage increases. And legal arguments around local wage hikes get decidedly slippery depending on whether that bill goes into effect or dies on the vine.

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