Save the Raise campaign, Raise Up Missouri campaign launched to raise state’s minimum wage

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Jason Deem, who owns several businesses along Cherokee Street, including “South Side Spaces,” says it’s unfortunate that small businesses owners are having to lead the charge to pay a higher base salary to workers in the city. But he says they’ll take that burden and prove to larger businesses that it works. – Labor Tribune photo

While the Save the Raise campaign aims to preserve the $10 minimum wage approved in St. Louis but nullified by the Republican-led Missouri Legislature, dozens of signature-gathering volunteers and working people with the Raise Up Missouri Coalition have kicked off a major grassroots effort to raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 an hour. The increase would impact hundreds of thousands of Missouri residents.

Organizers announced the initiative campaign with a recent rally in Kansas City.

Since the Republican-led legislature passed a bill prohibiting municipalities like St. Louis and Kansas City from raising their own minimum wage, and GOP Governor Eric Greitens allowed it to become law, working people are taking their efforts statewide so every working family in Missouri will have an easier time putting food on the table.

The statewide initiative, which would appear on the November 2018 ballot, would raise the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019 and 85 cents each year after that, capping at $12 in 2023. The wage would then continue to rise with the cost-of-living.

More than 500,000, or one in five working Missourians, would see their wages rise by the time the raise is fully implemented, and nearly a million, or one in three working Missourians, would see a benefit from the ripple effects of working people having more money to spend in their communities.

“Governor Greitens said he’ll raise wages, but he’s doing the opposite,” said SEIU Local 1 Janitor Richard Franklin. “We’re going to take the power away from the politicians, put it back in the hands of the people, and raise Missouri’s minimum wage for working people. Because every working family should be able to pay the bills and put food on the table.”

‘SAVE THE RAISE’

In St. Louis, more than 100 local businesses have pledged to continue paying workers at least $10 an hour, despite a law taking effect this month that will override a local minimum wage increase for more than 30,000 workers in the city.

Apotheosis Comics, Spoked Bikes, Nixta and Local Harvest are among dozens of restaurants and stores that will continue paying minimum wage workers a rate of $10 an hour, a rate workers won after two-year legal fight against business groups who challenged a 2015 city ordinance authorizing an increase.

In response, small business owners, low-wage workers and city aldermen have signed on to the “Save the Raise” campaign to persuade local employers to disregard the change.

Some businesses, including Schnucks Markets, which operates eight stores in the city limits, have announced that they’ll be lowering the starting wage for workers.

“It’s unfortunate that us as small businesses are having to lead the charge,” said Jason Deem, who owns several businesses along Cherokee Street, including South Side Spaces, “but we’ll take that burden and we’ll prove that it works and we’ll be that case study and I think that a lot of these businesses here on Cherokee Street will be that case study. We’ll prove to our elected officials that this does work.”

Anna Rivera, owner of El Chico Bakery, said she worked with her employees to find areas where they could cut costs so she could pay the higher wage.

“I’ll keep paying everyone who works at the bakery at least $10 an hour even after the minimum wage rolls back in August,” she said.

DOING THE RIGHT THING

“The City of St. Louis enacted the minimum wage ordinance in 2015 to lift up working families, bolster the local economy, and foster a stronger and safer community. Despite years of obstruction by corporate lobbyists and this newest attack on fair pay by Republican politicians in Jefferson City, that vision is still within reach,” said 16 members of the St. Louis Board of Alderman, including the board’s president, Lewis Reed, in a joint statement. “All employers still have the power to do the right thing and continue to pay the fair wage.”

Employers that agree to keep the $10 minimum can display signs stating, “We pay the fair wage” and are being lauded on the Save the Raise campaign website SaveTheRaise.org and on social media.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said businesses that continue to pay their employees $10 an hour even when they aren’t required to do so have made the whole fight worthwhile.

“My thought about this is, those companies that stick with the $10 minimum wage are going to get better employees than the guy next door who is paying $7.70. Because they’re going to get to be choosier,” Krewson said.

HIGHER STARTING SALARIES MORE COMPETITIVE

While the cost-of-living keeps going up, wages have not kept pace. Raising the minimum wage for working families offers them the opportunity to take home more on their paychecks to spend in their communities, strengthening the state’s economy for everyone.

“Raising the minimum wage to $12 will help Missouri’s working families across the board,” said University of Missouri Kansas City professor of Economics Erik Olsen. “Missouri’s economy will become more competitive, not less, as the wage rises.”

Placing the statutory issue on the ballot requires the gathering of valid signatures representing five percent of ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election in six of the eight congressional districts, or approximately 100,000 signatures statewide. Working people hit the streets last week to start gathering signatures.

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Support these 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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