Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Voters raise the minimum wages of Mo., Ark

Missouri voters approve minimum wage increase	 	 	 			Getty Images Missouri voters approve minimum wage increase Getty Images
Ginger Lawrence | 09 November, 2018, 08:28

Voters in two Republican-led states gave themselves a raise on Election Day, approving ballot measures in Tuesday's midterm elections that will boost pay for about 1 million workers.

Voters in Missouri approved a minimum wage hike of their own on Tuesday, passing a ballot measure raising it to $12 by 2023.

Missouri was already set to increase the minimum wage in 2019 by at least 25 cents to $8.10 per hour as per the state's annual inflation-related wage adjustment.

Lewis Prince, state coordinator for Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, says Proposition B is nonpartisan, winning a majority among Republican, independent and Democratic voters.

Labor unions and other progressive groups pushing for higher wage have funded a lot of those groups.

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In 2015, voters in Kansas City and St. Louis passed ordinances which increased the minimum wage to $10 in St. Louis and in Kansas City, with a gradual increase to $15 per hour by 2022. Incomes have stagnated since the Great Recession, particularly among low and middle-income workers. The proposition also increases the penalty for employers caught paying less than the minimum wage. Meanwhile, Congress hasn't increased the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in nearly a decade. The difference is even more striking when examining pay growth since the late 1970s: The top 1 percent's income has surged more than 157 percent, or about 7 times more than that of the bottom 90 percent.

"At the state level, with new governors or legislative leadership in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, and NY, we expect to see new action on working-family issues like the minimum wage, overtime pay, and earned sick days - and on vital democracy reforms", Owens said.

"2 conservative leaning states approved a minimum wage increase last night - AR & MO", he wrote on Twitter.

The wage increases approved for Missouri and Arkansas will be phased into place over a period of years. Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have higher minimum wages than the federal rate, according to EPI. "It's time for a modest increase in LA!"