St. Louis Post Dispatch Editorial: Fighting for a living wage, legislators notwithstanding

By the Editorial Board
St. Louis Post Dispatch, Aug 4, 2018

St. Louis hourly workers benefited briefly last year from an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour within the city, well above Missouri’s then-statewide level of $7.70. ... It took just four months for the Republican-led Legislature to step in and override the city ordinance with a state law forcing St. Louis’ minimum wage back down to the lower state standard. ...

Now workers will have a chance at the polling place to regain that lost ground — not just in St. Louis, but throughout the state. ... Proposition B in November will raise the current state minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019, and then by 85 cents each year until it reaches $12 in 2023. ... this will give employers a chance to adjust with relatively low hikes that build over time. And it will give workers something closer to a living wage. That’s a crucial component if Missouri wants to increase its population and restore life to its cities. Besides, putting extra money in the hands of baseline consumers is the fastest and most surefire way to generate healthy economic churn.

As Scott Sandler, owner of Pizza Head in St. Louis and a supporter of the measure, put it last week: “It’s important to look at wages as an investment instead of a cost. The return on investment includes lower employee turnover, which saves time and money in hiring, training and managing new employees. It includes better customer service and higher productivity. And it builds a stronger economy.” ...

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Copyright 2018 St. Louis Post Dispatch

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