Missouri state workers getting a long-overdue raise

MISSOURI STATE WORKERS will receive an 8.7 percent raise following passage of HB 14, a $627 million mid-year budget adjustment championed and signed by Gov. Mike Parson.


Jefferson City — Missouri state employees will receive a raise this month following Gov. Mike Parson signing HB 14, a supplemental midyear budget adjustment to address low pay and high turnover among state workers.

The bill, which passed the legislature in February, includes an 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees and an extra $2 an hour for some workers with late-night or overnight shifts. The pay increase does not apply to statewide elected officials, lawmakers or judges.

Parson signed the bill on Feb. 27 and said he hopes the pay increase will address the high turnover rate among state workers seeking higher paying private sector jobs.

“HB 14 is a critically necessary step in working to reverse the recruitment and retention struggles we are facing in state government,”  Parson said.

Natashia Pickens, president of the Missouri State Workers Union/CWA 6355 said the raises are a step in the right direction for Missouri state employees, who are the lowest paid in the nation.

“This is a good place to start, and it’s going to make a difference for a lot of workers,” Pickens said. “But we’re still pretty far behind.

“The gap between top-level management and the frontline workers, the people who are actually doing the work, is still huge,” she said, “but this is a big step in the right direction. We’ve been fighting for this for years as union members, and now we’ve finally got a budget that reflects a hint that lawmakers support state workers. We are getting closer to state workers making a livable wage.”

State Sen. Doug Beck (D-Affton), a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 and president of the Missouri State Building and Construction Trades Council, said the wage increase was “long overdue.”

“Missouri has the lowest paid state employees in the nation,” Beck said. “Because of these low wages, the state does not have enough people to investigate child abuse, guard our prisons, or care for our veterans.”

State lawmakers have highlighted the recruitment and retention of state employees as a severe problem for some time. While most supported Parson’s plan, some said it didn’t go far enough.

“A couple of years of modest improvement simply isn’t enough to overcome decades of shortchanging state workers with annual raises that ranged from miniscule to the non-existent,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said.

“Our state cannot succeed if we do not invest in the people who make us successful,” said Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo (D-Independence). “The dedicated public servants who keep our kids safe, care for our veterans, guard our prisons, fix our roads and do so much more deserve a raise.”

Others, like Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) said he was concerned about the additional government spending and was among those who voted against the raise. Eigel is considering a run for governor in 2024.

The pay raise for state employees was a priority this session for Parson, who touted the $627 million plan as necessary to fill the more than 7,000 open positions in state government. Parson announced his recommendation for raises in January and gave lawmakers a March 1 deadline to pass them.

“By supporting our state team members, we support the people of Missouri, and HB 14 will go a long way in helping us retain a dedicated and skilled state workforce,” Parson said.

HB 14 also includes $20 million for safety improvement grants at the state’s public schools. Parson called for the money after a shooting at St. Louis’ Central and Visual Performing Arts high school last October claimed the lives of a student and a teacher.


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