Missouri workers benefit from increased minimum wage

A SIGN IN SUPPORT of Proposition B, the measure voters approved to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023, hangs in a window at Bridge Bread on Cherokee St. in St. Louis in 2018. Missouri is one of 22 states where workers will see a minimum wage increase at the start of the new year. – Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio photo

Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved 2018’s Proposition B to increase Missouri’s minimum wage. As a result, Missouri workers saw the minimum wage increase by 85 cents to $9.45 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Voters from every corner of the state resoundingly voted Yes on Proposition B in November of 2018 to gradually increase Missouri’s minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $12 an hour by 2023. With 62.34 percent of the vote and carrying 82 of Missouri’s 114 counties, 31 of 34 State Senate districts, and 145 of 163 State House districts, Proposition B and raising Missouri’s minimum wage was a clear signal and mandate from voters across our state.

This 85 cents an hour raise has already resulted in an additional $1,000 a year for Missouri’s full-time, minimum wage workers’ pockets and into their local economies.

“Missouri voters get it,” said Richard von Glahn, Missouri Jobs with Justice Policy Director, “Businesses cannot thrive when their workers — or customers — are living in poverty.”

Proposition B was endorsed by a diverse and bipartisan coalition of workers, faith leaders, elected officials, and business owners, who continue to defend this voter-passed mandate.

“The reality is, the more money people have, the more money they spend,” said Mary Faucett, owner of Springfield-based Bambino’s restaurant. “More people spending money on life’s necessities like food, diapers, and repairs, this helps businesses across the board. We are already seeing that when wages are raised at the bottom, money goes right back into businesses like ours and our larger community.”

Increasing Missouri’s minimum wage was estimated to impact 677,000 Missourians — or one in four workers — and many are looking forward to the increase, including Mysean Coleman who works as a Hall Monitor at Heritage Care Center in St. Louis.

“The minimum wage going up to $9.45 an hour is a big deal for me, my family, and my co-workers. I work hard to take care of my family — 16-hour shifts so I can pay for daycare for my two-year-old daughter, Londyn, along with rent, electric, gas, groceries, and everything else life throws at you. This raise is a step in the right direction to give us some breathing room.”

Multiple deceptive bills were introduced in Missouri’s 2019 Legislative Session to undercut the will of the voters and Missouri workers to raise the state’s minimum wage. At least one of those bills has been re-introduced for the 2020 legislative session.

“We fought hard for this raise and we are not going to let some out-of-touch politicians overturn the will of Missouri voters,” said Khaymen Hoelscher of Columbia, one of the many workers who lobbied to preserve the increase over the past year.

“It’s not just the disrespect to voters like me,” said Cheyenne Mauzy of Springfield. “It is also that there are politicians who want to make sure some of us workers are forced to only scrape by and never get ahead.”

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