More than 100 St. Louis businesses reject local minimum wage rollback

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BETTIE DOUGLAS, a leader in the St. Louis Fight for $15, urges  employers to keep the higher wage. – Labor Tribune photo

Urge City’s employers to ‘Save the Raise’

By TIM ROWDEN

Editor

More than 100 St. Louis businesses and most of the St. Louis Board of Alderman announced Aug. 7 they reject a rollback in the city’s wage floor to $7.70 an hour set to take effect Aug. 28 and urged other business owners to continue honoring the current $10 an hour local minimum wage.

The announcement signals growing support for the “Save the Raise” campaign launched July 14 by local fast-food workers, clergy and elected officials after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Republican state lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year nullifying St. Louis’ $10 an hour minimum wage. 

SKY DIDN’T FALL

“I treated the minimum wage increase just like the cost of a can of tomatoes going up for my restaurants,” said Casey Miller, co-owner of the Vista Room restaurant and other businesses in the city. “The sky didn’t fall.” 

The “Save the Raise” campaign has launched a petition drive urging employers to “Save the Raise” by taking the pledge listed on the campaign’s website and displaying a sign in their business to show their support and signal to customers they pay at least $10 an hour. You can see a full list of signers on the campaign website at SaveTheRaise.org.

“My own employees helped me figure out areas to cut costs so that I could pay them the higher wage,” said Anna Rivera, owner of El Chico Bakery. “And I’ll keep paying everyone who works at the bakery at least $10 an hour even after the minimum wage rolls back in August.”

ST. LOUIS TOOK THE LEAD

Enacted in 2015, the St. Louis minimum wage ordinance was blocked for nearly two years by lawsuits from business lobbyists.

In May 2017, workers won their court fight and the ordinance went into effect, lifting pay for 30,000 St. Louis workers to $10 an hour and scheduling another increase to $11 an hour for 38,000 workers in Jan. 2018. 

Shortly after, Republicans in the Missouri Legislature passed a bill to bar local governments from raising the minimum wage – rolling the $10 an hour increase in St. Louis back to the statewide floor of $7.70 hour on Aug. 28, and blocking a similar increase from taking effect in Kansas City.

On June 30, Republican Gov. Eric Greitens announced he would not veto the bill, allowing it to take effect without his signature.

ST. LOUIS ALDERMEN BACKING CAMPAIGN

Sixteen members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen also endorsed the Save the Raise campaign Aug. 7, releasing the following statement: 

“The City of St. Louis enacted the minimum wage ordinance in 2015 to lift up working families, strengthen the local economy, and foster a healthier and safer community. Despite years of obstruction from corporate lobbyists and this newest attack on fair pay by Republican politicians in Jefferson City, that vision is still within reach. All employers still have the power to do the right thing and continue to pay the fair wage even after preemption goes into effect.

“We urge all public and private employers in St. Louis to follow the example of small businesses that have already pledged to #SaveTheRaise by paying all workers a minimum of $10 an hour, even after the state preemption law goes into effect on Aug. 28. Let’s send a message to Jefferson City that our city will only move forward, and not one step back.”

OBSTRUCTION COST WORKERS $35 MILLION

According to a report released in March, the National Employment Law Project, the legal and political obstruction delaying the St. Louis ordinance cost St. Louis’ low-wage workers – whose incomes average $12,500 per year – a stunning $35 million.

In the seven years prior to 2015, the hourly wage in Missouri had increased by only 40 cents. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, 92 percent of workers in the low-wage sector industries are over 20 years old, and 30 percent are over 40 years old – dispelling arguments that these industries are filled by a young, temporary workforce and subsequently do not need to pay higher wages.

WHY CAN’T BIG EMPLOYERS?

“If the owners of mom and pop shops across the city can continue paying $10 an hour, why can’t big employers like McDonald’s?” said Bettie Douglas, a leader in the St. Louis Fight for $15, who will go back to earning $7.90 after Aug. 28, unless McDonald’s takes the pledge to pay $10. “We’re not going to just let fast-food giants steal back the raises we fought for – we’re going to take to the streets.”

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Businesses that have pledged to pay a higher minimum

Here is a list of St. Louis businesses that have committed to the Save the Raise campaign and will not take away the $10 dollar minimum wage from their employees, despite the Missouri legislature’s passage of a bill, and Gov. Eric Greitens’ cruel decision to allow it to become law, nullifying the higher wage in the city. Please patronize these establishments.

1) Scholarship Foundation, 6825 Clayton Ave, Suite 100

2) B-Side, 2709 Cherokee St.

3) Bronson House, 3201 Washington Ave.

4) Earthbound Beer, 2710 Cherokee St.

5) El Burro Loco, 313 N Euclid Ave.

6) Foam, 3359 S. Jefferson Ave.

7) Fortune Teller Bar, 2635 Cherokee St.8

8) Gelateria, 3197 S Grand Blvd.

9) Guerilla Street Food, 3559 Arsenal St.

10) Halo Bar, 6161 Delmar Blvd.

11) La Patisserie Chouquette, 1626 Tower Grove Ave.

12) Lona's Lil Eats, 2199 California Ave.

13) Midwest Pasta Co., 2023 Cherokee St.

14) Milque Toast, 2212 S Jefferson Ave.

15) Moonrise Hotel, 6177 Delmar Blvd.

16) Mound City Sandwich Shop, 2906 Market St.

17) Nixta, 1621 Tower Grove Ave.

18) Olio/Elia, 1634 Tower Grove Ave.

19) Pin Up Bowl, 6191 Delmar Blvd.

20) Pizza Head, 3196 S Grand Blvd.

21) Saint Louis Hop Shop, 2606 Cherokee St.

22) Salume Beddu, 3467 Hampton Ave.

23) Southwest Diner, 6803 Southwest Ave.

24) Teatopia, 26191 Cherokee St.

25) The Juice, 2640 Cherokee St.

26) The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd.

27) Washington Ave. Post, 1315 Washington Ave.

28) Yaquis, 2748 Cherokee St.

29) Apotheosis Comics, 3238 S Grand Blvd.

30) Dunaway Books, 3111 S Grand Blvd.

31) Left Bank Books, 399 N Euclid Ave.

32) Local Harvest, 3108 Morganford Rd.

33) Nalaw Fashion, 2613 Cherokee St.

34) Purple Cow, 2010 Cherokee St.

35) Rocket Century, 3189 S Grand Blvd.

36) Zee Bee's Market, 3211 S Grand Blvd.

37) ButtonMakers.net, 2608 Cherokee St.

38) Kierkegaard Design Build, 2307 N 11th St.

39) Nebula, 3407 S Jefferson Ave.

40) Orpheum Cleaners, 3199 S Grand Blvd.

41) Planned Parenthood

42) Fibonacci Inc., 2307 N 11th St.

43) Pappy's, 3106 Olive St.

44) Sqwires, 1415 S 18th St.

45) Tracy's Treasures, 2306 Cherokee St.

46) Murphy's Mutts, 2307 Cherokee St.

47) Elaine's, 2311 Cherokee St.

48) Flowers to the People, 2317 Cherokee St.

49) Endless Planets Records, 3351 Oregon Ave.

50) The Porch Wine and Gift Boutique, 1700 S 9th St.

51) Mesa Home, 2619 Cherokee St.

52) Spoked Bikes, 2716 Cherokee St.

53) 4 Hands Brewing Co., 1220 S. 8th St.

54) 4 Hands Brewing Co., 2831 Cherokee St.

55) Whisk: A Sustainable Bakery, 2201 Cherokee St.

56) Clayton Price/Elder's Antiques, 2124 Cherokee St.

57) Will's Copy Connection & Wireless, 2634 Cherokee St.

58) Flowers and Weeds, 3201 Cherokee St.

59) STL Style House, 3159 Cherokee St.

60) Communication Depot, 2629 Cherokee St.

61) Red Guitar, 3215 Cherokee St.

62) Bogart’s, 1627 S. 9th St.

63) De May Ltd. Furs and Antiques, 2020 Cherokee St.

64) Artisan Well Bar Management, 7230 Pershing Ave., University City.

65) Ink Spot, 3433 Hampton Ave.

66) Sam Light Loans, 2601 Olive St.

67) Episcopal Churches (Trinity Episcopal Church), 600 N. Euclid Ave.

68) Clarinettequest, 2114 Cherokee St.

69) Saxquest, 2114 Cherokee St.

70) Bridge Bread Bakery, 2604 Cherokee St.

71) West End Wok, 4577 Laclede Ave.

72) Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Blvd.

73) Treasurer's Office, City of St. Louis, 1200 Market St, Room 220.

74) CG Immigration Law, LLC, 2316 Cherokee St.

75) STLGrilllz, 5898 Delmar Blvd.

76) East Grove Provisions, 3101 Arsenal St.

77) New Dawn Natural Foods, 3536 Arsenal St.

78) Mr. Nice Guy Head Shop, 2635 Cherokee St.

79) Mud House, 2101 Cherokee St.

80) Creative Litho, 3021 Cherokee St.

81) Mokabe's, 3606 Arsenal St.

82) Downtown Children's Center, 607 22nd St.

83) Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Blvd.

84) Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd.

85) Culpepper's CWE, 300 N Euclid Ave., St. (second location in St. Charles)

86) Propaganda, 2732 Cherokee St.

87) Vista Ramen, 2609 Cherokee St.

88) Dead Wax, 1957 Cherokee St.

89) ND Consulting Group, 1425 S 18th St.

90) Salon St. Louis, 3012 S Grand Blvd.

91) South Side Spaces, 2615 Cherokee St.

92) STL Health Works Urgent Care, 916 Olive St. and 6113 Ridge Ave.

93) Four Muddy Paws, 1711 Park Ave.

94) Radius Realty, 904 S 4th, Suite 201.

95) Arcas, 2615 Cherokee St.

96) Human Resources, 3400 S Jefferson Ave.

97) Tea Rex, 2710 Cherokee St.

98) Mr. Nice Guy Head Shop, 5892 Delmar Blvd.

99) Mr. Nice Guy Head Shop, 8506 Olive St.

100) St. Louis Earth Day, 4125 Humphrey St.

101) Magnolia Cafe @ KDHX, 3524 Washington Ave.

102) El Chico Bakery, 2634 Cherokee St.

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