St. Louis minimum wage increase takes effect Friday

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City will raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour as the clock strikes midnight May 5. Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer lifted the injunction on the city ordinance that will bring the wage increase into effect.

The bill will eventually cap out at $11/hour as of Jan. 1 , 2018.

Minimum wage workers, like Richard Bullion of the Service Employees International Union, celebrated the announcement Friday.

“Too many working people in St. Louis need to take a second job just to keep our head above water. Between bills, food, and rent, there’s not much left at the end of the day,” Bullion, a janitor for 25 years, said. “We need to make sure working families can make a living, and raising the minimum wage will go a long way towards making that a reality. The janitors, higher education faculty, and public sector workers of SEIU Local 1 thank Mayor Lyda Krewson for implementing this law. We fought long and hard for this victory.”

However, business groups were less thrilled about the decision.

“This move will raise labor costs up to 25 percent for some St. Louis City employers,” Missouri Chamber President and CEO Dan Mehan said in a statement. “In the short run, it will require businesses to scramble to comply with the new law. In the long run, it will cost jobs and set an already struggling St. Louis City economy even further behind.”

Legislation from Reps. Jason Chipman and Dan Shaul to stop municipalities from raising their minimum wage above the state level currently lingers in the Senate. The gridlock in the body has prevented it from coming up for debate, even though the bill had an emergency clause on it to stop the St. Louis ordinance from going into effect. Kansas City has also passed an ordinance set to gradually raise its minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2023.

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