Raise Up Missouri seeks to increase the state’s minimum wage

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WORKING TO RAISE UP MISSOURI, St. Louis business owner Jonathan Jones (left), owner of the Southwest Diner, and St. Louis City Alderman Scott Ogilvie, discuss the campaign to raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 an hour at an organizing and fundraising event last week at the diner. – Richard von Glahn/Jobs with Justice photo

Events across the state organizing volunteers, raising campaign funds

St. Louis business owner Jonathan Jones and St. Louis City Alderman Scott Ogilvie paired up recently to host a fundraiser for Raise Up Missouri, the campaign to raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $12/hour, at Jones’s restaurant, Southwest Diner, 6803 Southwest Ave. in St. Louis.

The event attracted patrons of the restaurant, which was also the first St. Louis eatery to publicly pledge to maintain the $10 city minimum wage established in the city that Governor Eric Greitens and Republicans in the state legislature slashed in August.

The event raised over $1,300 for the campaign and patrons left with clipboards in hand to help gather signatures to get the issue to the ballot.

Alderwoman Sarah Martin was especially excited to see some of her constituents in the crowd and pledged to help organize a canvass for the initiative in her south St. Louis city ward.

MINIMUM WAGE

Under Missouri’s current minimum wage of $7.70/hour, full-time workers make just $300 a week, less than $16,000 a year.

Raise Up Missouri seeks to gradually increase the state minimum wage by 85 cents a year until it reaches $12/hour in 2023. The increase would directly impact one in five Missouri workers, and indirectly impact one in three.

AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL OF US

Laborers Local 110 member Mark Bielicke, who attended the fundraiser, explained his support. “After gathering signatures to repeal so-called ‘right-to-work,’ I am excited to continue to gather for Raise Up Missouri. This initiative is part of the same campaign as defeating ‘right to work’ – it is about making sure Missouri’s working families have an economy that works for us.”

Democratic State Representatives Martha Stevens and Kip Kendrick also hosted a similar fundraiser the same night at Café Berlin in Columbia. That was attended by over 50 people and raised an additional $500 for the campaign.

Many of those in attendance in Columbia were college and even high school students, excited to learn how they can help shape the workforce they are entering.

“I wanted to host this event in Mid-Missouri so we could educate the community about this critically important issue around raising the minimum wage” said Representative Stevens.

“Sadly, I know my colleagues in the Republican-led legislature will not prioritize this issue,” Stevens said. “It is up to the power of the people to pass this much needed legislation through the ballot process. Raising the minimum wage is an investment in families and their children in every community in our state.”

VOLUNTEER TO RAISE UP MISSOURI

Raise Up Missouri needs the same number of signatures as the Citizen’s Veto of  “right-to-work” needed to get on the ballot. Many of the same volunteers who helped collect over 310,000 volunteer signatures on that campaign are now working on behalf of this minimum wage issue.

To volunteer or learn more about the campaign, contact Missouri Jobs with Justice policy director Richard von Glahn at Richard@mojwj.org or 314-540-2049.

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