The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s vote today to raise the city’s minimum wage to $11 by 2018.
Today, St. Louis Missouri became the latest in a growing list of cities across the country raising their local minimum wage to address the crises of wage stagnation and income inequality. By a vote of 16 to 8, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a measure that would raise the city’s minimum wage from the state minimum of $7.65 to $11 by 2018.
From coast to coast, and from the nation’s heartland to the Deep South, a growing number of local governments have approved higher local minimum wages in the last two years, spurred by worker organizing and transforming the national debate around wage increases. Earlier this summer, Los Angeles voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour, Kansas City, Missouri adopted a $13 minimum wage, and Birmingham Alabama became the first city in the South to adopt a higher local minimum wage. SeaTac, San Francisco and Seattle have already adopted $15 minimum wage rates, and similar proposals are pending for Washington, DC, Portland (ME), Olympia and Tacoma (WA) and Sacramento and Davis (CA). Emeryville has adopted a $16 rate, and Chicago, a $13 rate.
Even at $11 an hour, St. Louis workers will be challenged to support themselves and their families. Nevertheless, today’s vote is a meaningful step toward lifting workers out of poverty, lifting from taxpayers the unfair burden of subsidizing companies that pay wages so low that their employees must rely on public assistance, and lifting the local economy, which will benefit from the boost in spending higher wages will provide.
The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit stage.nelp.org.
For Immediate Release: August 28, 2015
Contact: Anna Susman, Anna.Susman@berlinrosen.com, 646-200-5285