Missouri Jobs with Justice campaign wins NAACP Human Rights award

MISSOURI JOBS WITH JUSTICE (JwJ) recently received a Human Rights award from the St. Louis County NAACP for its Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages campaign. Accepting the award on behalf of the campaign are (from left) JwJ’s M’Evie Mead and Richard von Glahn, Fight for 15’s Wanda Rodgers, Mark Bielicke, a Laborers Local 110 business representative who serves on the JwJ leadership team, and Fight for 15’s Betty Douglas. – Missouri Jobs with Justice photo

Missouri Jobs with Justice’s Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages campaign has been recognized by the St. Louis County NAACP with a Human Rights award.

The strong, well-funded and broad-based campaign will allow workers to earn paid sick days, and it will increase the minimum wage, giving working families a leap forward in November with a ballot initiative that underscores how critical Missouri workers are to the state’s economy.

The organization received the award at the NAACP’s 87th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner June 22 at the Marriott St. Louis Airport in St. Louis County. In accepting the award on behalf of the campaign, Richard von Glahn, Missouri Jobs with Justice political director, said that people, not businesses, are what drives the economy.

“It’s our labor, skills, spending and contributions that build prosperity,” von Glahn said.  “The better off people are, the more every person can contribute and reach their full potential, the better off we all are and the better off our economy and society is in the long run. Missourians for Healthy Families is about investing in people.”

Upon passage of the ballot initiative, Missouri workers will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees may take sick leave to care for themselves or family members and cannot be retaliated against for using the time.

Additionally, the initiative will raise the minimum wage to $13.75/hour effective Jan.1, 2025 and $15 effective Jan. 1, 2026. It will continue to increase annually with the cost-of-living thereafter.

John Bowman, president at the NAACP of St Louis County, said it’s good for everyone when workers have access to earned paid sick days and a higher minimum wage.

“The NAACP is proud of this effort and looks forward to working hard to pass this ballot measure in November,” Bowman said. “Working families deserve to thrive and the Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages campaign embodies that sentiment.”

Betty Douglas, a longtime leader in the Fight for $15, attended the dinner and talked about her own career, which included over 10 years at McDonalds.

“Over 728,000 workers across Missouri don’t have paid sick leave,” she said. “This includes workers like me, but also other essential workers in retail, construction and even direct care services. That is why so many of us are working together – to change this reality and build a more family supporting economy.”

Proponents of the effort submitted 210,000 signatures, far beyond the requisite number of signatures, to make the November ballot. The Missouri AFL-CIO was an early endorser of the campaign and momentum has only grown with over 120 community and Labor Organizations supporting the effort.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office has yet to assign a proposition letter to the ballot initiative, but the campaign expects certification to take place by early August.

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