Minimum Wage | St. Louis Public Radio

Minimum Wage

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin knows firsthand the difficulty in getting a minimum wage increase passed through a legislative body. 

The Illinois Democrat was unsuccessful in getting the U.S. Senate to increase the federal minimum wage this year. Even if Senate Republicans hadn’t filibustered that effort, it would likely have gone nowhere in the GOP-controlled House.

Jess Jiang/St. Louis Public Radio

After the city of Seattle voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour earlier this month, the discussion over the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage continues to heat up. In Missouri, the minimum wage is $7.50 an hour, 25 cents higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Most can agree there will be winners and losers if a wage increase happens in Missouri, but who the losers would be and the overall effect on the economy still remain up for debate.

Lindenwood University economist Howard Wall is against raising the minimum wage.

Striking fast food workers in south St. Louis, MO.
Jess Jiang / St. Louis Public Radio

Fast food workers around the globe and in St. Louis went on strike Thursday. Workers, wearing black T-shirts that say "Show Me $15," rallied in front of a Wendy's in south St. Louis. The workers are asking for $15 an hour, about double what many workers currently receive. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Chris Sommers is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to the minimum wage. 

Sommers is the owner of six Pi Pizzerias restaurants and Gringo in the Central West End. Instead of waiting for Congress or the Missouri General Assembly to act, he’s heeding President Barack Obama’s call for business owners to voluntarily raise the minimum wage his employees.

Starting on April 1, everybody who works at one of Sommers’ restaurants will make at least $10.10 an hour. It’s a move Sommers said will help entry-level workers make a decent living.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Raising the minimum wage would be a big help for people like Shnette Hooker, an employee at a McDonald’s in Spanish Lake. Hooker said, it would allow people “to save a little money,” “take care of their kids” and “get off the assistance that everybody is on.” 

But more than just that, Hooker said boosting the minimum wage is a matter of fairness.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson Cowie is a professor in Cornell University’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations teaching courses in labor relations, law and history.  His most recent book, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class served as inspiration for Rebecca Gilman’s play, “Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976” which is now playing at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.  While Cowie was in St.

Marinela

Income inequality in the United States is a hot-button political issue in this mid-term election year. Advocates for substantial increases in the minimum wage, for instance, believe that imposing higher wages on employers will reduce poverty and lessen income inequality. The evidence just does not justify this claim. Workers who remain employed after the increase are made better off on the backs of those workers who face reduced hours or unemployment following government-mandated wage hikes.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

President Barack Obama sent a message during his State of the Union address to every mayor, governor and state legislator who want to increase the minimum wage: Don't wait on Congress, Americans will support more local government initiatives.

Ragesoss | Wikipedia

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. The dictionary defines it as “that department of philosophy which investigates critically the nature, grounds, limits, and criteria, or validity, of human knowledge; Theory of cognition.” Woody Allen once called it the intellectual discipline that asks the question, “can we know what we know and if not, how do we know that?”

Workers demonstrate in support of a higher minimum wage.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A push is going on to enact a $15-an-hour minimum wage. While some increase may be justified, that would make it more than a safety net.

 The Churchillian observation raises an interesting question: why should the queen concern herself with the minimum wage? After all, she’s always been rather well compensated for her labors, whatever those may be. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

 About 100 fast food workers and their supporters braved sleet squalls Thursday morning to join a nationwide protest seeking a boost in the federal minimum wage.

"I'm reminded of what happened during the Civil Rights movement," Ronald Bobo, the pastor at Westside Missionary Baptist Church, told the crowd as they gathered outside the Jack in the Box at 4111 Lindell Blvd.  It wasn't the old people who made the difference. It was the young people. You can make a difference. Don't give up, don't give in, don't be intimidated."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Proponents of boosting wages for fast-food workers and other minimum-wage workers held a public hearing Monday at St. Louis City Hall to publicize a study showing how many fast-food workers rely on public assistance.

The event organized by Jobs with Justice’s Workers’ Rights Board featured employees  saying how wages at fast-food restaurants aren’t high enough to stay off of public assistance -- such as Medicaid or food stamps.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: While fast food workers continue their push for a $15 hourly wage, polls find that a majority of Americans would support an increase of some type in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Is $15 an hour to flip burgers or toss pizzas a realistic demand? When was the last time the federal minimum wage -- $7.25 per hour -- was adjusted? Who are America's minimum-wage workers? What is a living wage?

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis fast food workers were on the streets today for a second round of protests to raise wages and form a union.

Supporters carried signs and chanted both in and outside of McDonald’s on South Broadway and encouraged employees to walk out and join them in the strike. Reverend Martin Rafanan says that fast food workers and participants are more prepared on this second go around.

Fast-food workers demonstrate for higher wages as part of a national effort.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:Just as she did in May, Shermale Humphrey was on the picket line at noon Monday to protest the low wages and few benefits that she and others receive as they flip hamburgers and serve customers at the region's fast-food restaurants.

Rasheen Aldridge speaks at a California rally.
Sean Soendker Nicholson | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Seven weeks after the local protests by fast-food workers in early May, activists reaffirm their belief that the two-day pickets did more than highlight the fight over restaurant workers’ low wages.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Because of flight delays, acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris had to cancel his trip to St. Louis and Kansas City last week to promote President Barack Obama’s support for increasing the federal minimum wage.

c_ambler | Flickr

Hundreds of thousands of American workers are paid the minimum wage.  It’s $7.25 nationally and $7.35 in St. Louis.  While the perception may be that minimum and low wage jobs are mostly held by teens, the vast majority, 75 percent, are adults over the age of 20.

Recent local news reports have highlighted protests by minimum wage earners.  They are demanding that their pay be nearly doubled.  The campaign is called “St. Louis Can’t Survive on $7.35.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A work stoppage that began Wednesday morning with four employees at a Jimmy John’s in south St. Louis is slated to spread to at least two dozen other fast-food restaurants on Thursday, organizers say, as part of a national push to unionize fast-food workers and increase the minimum wage.

Organizers expect at least 100 area fast-food employees to participate in the strike, which is supposed to last through Thursday – with workers back on the job by Friday.

(via Flickr/stevendepolo)

Employees at a Jimmy John’s franchise in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood staged a walk-out today.

The workers are seeking $15 an hour, rather than the $7.35 minimum they currently make.

In a statement, workers also complained of being publicly disciplined for trivial incidents and forced to wear signs.

Shamniqua Clark says it was the right decision for her to take part in the walk-out.

(via Flickr/ Charleston's TheDigitel)

Updated 4:04 p.m.

(via Flickr/JD Hancock)

Missouri's minimum wage will rise by a dime to $7.35 an hour in 2013.

For the past several years, Missouri has followed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That's because the federal rate was equal to or greater than the state's minimum, which is adjusted annually based on the cost of living.

But inflation has now pushed Missouri's minimum wage above the federal standard. The new wage is posted on the website of the state labor department.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Legal fight between Quinn and Union continues

The legal fight between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the union that represents prisons workers continues this week.

Quinn had wanted the prisons closed by last Friday. Instead that day an arbitrator said the administration violated its contract with the prison workers' union by moving to close the facilities before they'd finished what's called "impact bargaining."

Union spokesman Anders Lindall says impact bargaining doesn't only affect employees facing layoffs.

s_falkow |Flickr

A Missouri appeals court has ruled that language used to summarize a ballot proposal giving St. Louis city  control of its police department is fair.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Ill. parents reminded about back-to-school vaccines

Illinois health and education officials are reminding parents to update their children's immunizations before they head back to school.

New Illinois Department of Public Health rules require students entering sixth and ninth grades this year to show proof of receiving the Tdap vaccine. That's a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

A judge has upheld the ballot summary of a proposed initiative asking voters to raise the state's minimum wage.

Missouri currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, because the state minimum wage would be lower. The proposed ballot initiative would raise the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, with an annual adjustment for inflation.

(via flickr/D.H. Parks)

McCreery wins St. Louis County House seat, Sommer wins St. Charles County seat

A Democrat who ran as an independent after losing out on her party's nomination has prevailed in a three-way race for a vacant state House seat in St. Louis County.

(via Flickr/bigburpsx3)

Missouri voters could be asked next year to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25.

The secretary of state's office on Tuesday approved the summaries on two initiative petitions, meaning proponents can begin collecting signatures to get the measures on the 2012 ballot.

Missouri's minimum wage currently matches the federal requirement of $7.25 an hour.

(via Flickr/bigburpsx3)

Missouri voters could be asked to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.

A group that backed a successful wage increase in the 2006 elections is now pushing to get the minimum wage issue back on the ballot in Missouri's 2012 elections.

An open-records request from The Associated Press shows that the minimum wage initiative already has been submitted to the secretary of state's office, which must approve a ballot title before supporters can begin gathering signatures.

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