By TIM ROWDEN
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill strongly backs a proposed minimum wage hike appearing on Missouri’s Nov. 6 election ballot as Proposition B.
Her Republican challenger, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, says he’s not so sure.
“We have an opportunity in November to raise the minimum wage in Missouri and I am 100 percent in favor of that,” McCaskill told a crowd at Lona’s Lil Eats in south St. Louis Aug. 30.
Hawley, she said, “is not fighting for the workers. He is fighting for the folks in the boardroom.”
Hawley told the St. Louis Post Dispatch he was undecided on the minimum wage increase. Hawley said he thought an increase was “probably” a good idea, but that the current proposal might result in job losses.
That could put Hawley on the defensive with Missouri voters, three-fourths of whom supported a wage hike in 2006, and an overwhelming majority of whom voted against Prop A, Missouri’s wage killing “right-to-work” measure, in August.
McCaskill cheered Missouri residents’ overwhelming repeal of “right-to-work” during her visit to the southside restaurant and emphasized her support for Prop B, which would raise the current minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60 in 2019, then gradually increase it by 85 cents a year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023.
Such a gradual increase, McCaskill said, would not be a shock to the system of small business owners. “But it is a shot in the arm for all the people that work at minimum wage.
“And make no mistake about it. This isn’t just a few people,” McCaskill said. “I think people like to gloss over this and say ‘Well, nobody works at minimum wage.’ We have over 100,000 parents in Missouri working for minimum wage.
“So now we have both minimum wage and ‘right-to-work’ for less,” McCaskill said. “Josh Hawley is on the wrong side of the table.”
For information on Prop B, visit raiseupmo.org.