Americans deserve a raise and some have taken to the streets to demand it. In the city of St. Louis, a new initiative has been launched in an attempt to save the city’s minimum wage hike. On Friday, demonstrators gathered outside of the Southwest Diner in south St. Louis to kick off the “Save The Raise” Campaign. The group was primarily made up of workers, spiritual leaders, union leaders, and elected officials. The group hopes their efforts will encourage local business owners to remain consistent with the city’s minimum wage increase. The increase to $10 per hour went into effect just months ago. While it was approved in 2015, it only went into effect on May the 5th of this year.
Democrat Senator Jamilah Nasheed was on hand and delivered a speech that riled up supporters. He encouraged locals to continue fighting. He also accused the Republicans of working for corporate America, while he explained members of his party were working for the American people. The owner of the Southwest Diner, Jonathan Jones, has already confirmed that he will stick with the $10 per hour wage.
He also encouraged other business owners to do the same. “I encourage more business owners to make the pledge to pay the fair wage that was taken away by the Legislature and the Governor in Jeff City.” Jones went on to explain that business owners, workers and members of the local community could work together to save the raise.
Organizers have confirmed that they will post the names of supportive businesses on their websites. They also intend to expose the names of businesses that refuse to comply with the request. While St. Louis just recently imposed a $10 per hour minimum wage, that law is set to be voided on August the 28th. This comes after the state’s Legislature passed a bill prohibiting local governments from creating their own minimum wage requirements.
The $10 minimum wage was short-lived. St. Louis businesses were only required to comply with the law for the past 10 weeks. On August the 28th, the minimum wage will shrink back down to the state’s threshold of $7.70 per hour. Now, employers have a tough choice to make. Will they revert back to the previous levels and risk provoking the ire of their employees? Some local employers, which initially opposed the increase, have confirmed that they will maintain the $10 minimum wage.
As for the Maryland Heights-based grocery chain, Schnuck Markets Inc., a reversal is in the works. The grocery chain plans to revert back to the pay level that was originally laid out in their union contracts. That will likely result in many receiving $8.30 per hour instead of the $10 per hour.
Many businesses have complained that the minimum wage hike put them at a severe competitive disadvantage with businesses located outside of the city. This includes the Pogue Label & Screen, which is owned by Michael Meuser. Meuser admits he is not against a higher minimum wage. However, he would like it to be implemented on a federal level to ensure a level playing field for all businesses.
For many businesses, the reversal will come as a sigh of relief. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that many employees will feel the sting.