Good News: minimum wage raised in St. Louis
I always like to start with Good News where I can, so let's do that.
The first bit of Good News this week is that low-paid workers in the city of St. Louis got an unexpected surprise.
In 2015, in the swirl of the "Fight for 15" campaign gaining ground in cities around the country, Missouri GOPpers overrode a gubernatorial veto to enact a law prohibiting any city in the state from raising the local minimum wage above the paltry state level, which was then $7.65 per hour and is now $7.70 per hour.
In St. Louis, the Board of Aldermen focused on a clause in that law permitting local minimum wage increases so long as they were already in effect on or before August 28, 2015.
The Board worked through a summer session, trying to reach a compromise between business interests and working people and, just in time, agreed on a timetable for the City minimum wage to gradually climb to $11 per hour by January 1, 2018.
To what should have been no one's surprise, a group of business associations sued the city, whining and sniveling about how terrible and mean and rotten the city was and claiming the new agreement was all sorts of terrible, mean, rotten things.
In 2015, a state Circuit Court judge struck down the city law just hours before it would have triggered the first increase in the local minimum wage.
Which is where things stood until February 28.
Because the city of St. Louis had not given up and had continued to argue for its law. And on February 28, the Missouri state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city - which means that the low-paid workers of St. Louis, now trying to get by on $7.70 per hour, will see their pay increase almost immediately to $10 per hour and to $11 per hour in just under a year.
Because of that evil state law, the city won't be able to raise the minimum above $11 unless the state law can be changed. But at least for now, low-wage workers in St. Louis can emjoy a little wage justice and the fight to make the minimum wage a living wage gains another small victory. And that is Good News.