Columbia Missourian: Petition to raise Missouri's minimum wage amasses over 120,000 signatures

By Stephanie Sandoval
Columbia Missourian, May 2, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY — Alexis Straughter is a single mother of two young girls who works at the Royal Oak Nursing and Rehab in St. Louis. She makes $10.45 an hour, and she said it’s still not enough. “I’ve been trying to make ends meet,” she said. “It just doesn’t work.”

Straughter shared her story Wednesday at a press conference in support of Raise Up Missouri’s initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage. The press conference, held at the Missouri Secretary of State’s office on West Main Street, was organized by Missouri business leaders and workers.

The initiative would raise the current minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60 in 2019 and then increase it by 85 cents every year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023. ...

Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage also publicly announced its support for the initiative at the press conference.

Over 200 business owners and executives have signed Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s online statement in support of gradually increasing Missouri’s minimum wage. Some of the signees included Main Squeeze, Salon Nefisa, Pizza Head and Yellow Dog Bookstore.

Lew Prince, treasurer of Raise Up Missouri and a manager for Missouri Business for Fair Minimum Wage, said the current minimum wage is too low. ...Prince is the co-founder and former CEO of Vintage Vinyl in University City. He said that the plan is “simple, gradual and budget-able” and that increasing the wage will help people become more self-reliant.

He also said raising the minimum wage would affect over 670,000 workers in Missouri, dramatically increase consumer buying power, and ultimately create economic growth and jobs. He said it would also cut government spending and save taxpayers money. ...

Scott Sandler, owner of Pizza Head, said the idea that a higher minimum wage hurts business growth is based on the false assumption that productivity remains the same and that businesses simply incur a higher payrolls.

“In actuality, with higher wages comes higher productivity, lower turnover, better morale — and that reduces your labor cost per unit in the long-run,” Sandler said. “So, again, it’s a false notion that raising wages raises costs.” ...

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Copyright 2018 Columbia Missourian


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