Celebrate Prop A defeat – but we have more work to do

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Vote ‘Yes’ Prop B minimum wage increase to help workers, grow economy

WHITE

By PAT WHITE

President

St. Louis Labor Council

While the August 7th defeat of so-called “right-to-work” (Prop A) is a historic victory – a Herculean accomplishment we should all be very proud of – it isn’t the end of the corporate assault on workers’ rights, locally or nationally.

We can’t and shouldn’t consider our work done. It is more important than ever that we stay on the offensive, stay mobilized and continue to move the ball downfield as we inch closer to the November elections.

UNITED LIKE NEVER BEFORE,
‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

Union and non-union workers are united like never before. In fact, 67.5 percent of Missouri voters – only a quarter of whom were union members – stood with us on August 7th and voted “no” on Prop A.

They said, “enough is enough!” As a result, we trounced the big business, Koch brothers, ALEC backed attempt to destroy our unions and our way of life.

Missouri voters know unions are the backbone of our state’s economy and workforce. And they spoke in one unified voice.

Missouri voters also support raising the minimum wage. They know it is the right thing to do, and is good for our economy.

One way we can stay on the offensive is by voting “yes” on Prop B this November. Prop B will raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 per-hour by 2023.

Currently, the minimum wage is $7.85.

GOOD FOR WORKERS,
GOOD FOR MISSOURI

Raising Missouri’s minimum wage isn’t just the right thing to do, though. It’s also in our self-interest.

While many union members haven’t worked minimum wage jobs since their teenage years, that’s not the case for a lot of workers today.

More and more adults are working minimum wage jobs. The average minimum wage worker today is a 35-year-old woman. And many are working two or three jobs just to pay the bills.

If we believe all work has dignity – which I do – then raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do.

No one should have to work for poverty wages!

Additionally, if we want to grow our economy and increase consumer spending – which I do – then raising the minimum wage is good for Missouri.

Raising the minimum wage to $12 an-hour will affect 677,000 Missourians and generate about $1 billion in consumer buying power, which also creates jobs.

In fact, every dollar increase in the minimum wage results in $2,800 in new consumer spending. If that’s not an economic stimulus package then I don’t know what is.

‘A WIN-WIN FOR ALL WORKERS’

Further, if you believe you should be making more money – which you should – then raising the minimum wage is good for you. It’s good for all of us!

Raising the wage floor (the minimum wage), puts upward pressure on everybody’s wages. Businesses will have to work harder and pay more to attract and keep skilled workers, which puts all of us in a better position come contract time.

So, let’s celebrate! Let’s be proud of our recent victory. We should be proud.

But, let’s also not forget that all Missouri workers are under attack, union and nonunion. Raising Missouri’s minimum wage is a win-win for all workers and helps keep us on the offensive.

I hope you’ll join me in voting “yes” on Prop B! In November let’s finish the job we started!

(Pat White, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, is a member of Gas Workers 11-6.)

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