Fight for $15 Is Also About Forming a Union, St. Louis Workers Emphasize

Voters in Missouri actually voted to raise the minimum wage in 2018 and voted for a five-year plan to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $ 12 by 2023. The new $ 10.30 minimum wage was launched on schedule in January, but the movement’s organizers know they need to remain vigilant. A bill threatening to remove the $ 12 statewide hike has a hearing with Missouri lawmakers, and citywide hikes have already been rolled back. In 2015, St. Louis voters approved their own $ 10 minimum wage through local ordinance, but business leaders sued it and Missouri’s Republican-led legislature reversed it just months after it went into effect.

Rushing the minimum wage would be life changing. “It [would] help tremendously. I wouldn’t have to rely on government support to take care of myself and my children, “she says.” I could get my own place I could get my car repaired. I could give my kids the lifestyle they deserve. “

In addition to the EPI’s Fact Sheet on the Wage Increase Act, the organization published a full report of the policy’s impact by congressional district and an interactive map. In Missouri’s first congressional district, including St. Louis City and parts of St. Louis County, the policy would benefit roughly 33% of the workforce living there, resulting in an average annual income of $ 2,500 per year of affected workers, according to the EPI. Working women in the district would benefit 36% and black workers in the district 44%. For St. Louisans like Ciara, who are between 16 and 24 years old, 78%, or approximately 39,000 young people, would see their paychecks spike.

“I won’t even lie to you – [in] St. Louis, we have so many tragedies in our city alone. Just to be part of a thing that could potentially change [St. Louis] and [create] Something positive, it feels good, ”says Rush, reflecting on the effects of the movement on the city.

But the wage increase isn’t the only thing the Fight for $ 15 movement is pushing for, despite the current political focus. After all, the movement’s slogan is “Fight for 15 dollars and a union”.

Michael Hebert, 25, is a New Orleans-based fast food worker and movement leader who travels to St. Louis to support local action. He tells Teen Vogue that a wage increase is important, but the struggle for union formation in the workplace is just as critical. “When it comes to a union, we need planning – we need two weeks of planning. We need motherhood for men and women because a woman can have a baby, but a man has to be there to help with the baby, especially in the first few days, ”he says. “A union would also protect workers from discrimination, sexism and sexual harassment.”

“It’s a movement that is helping to raise the minimum wage to $ 15, but also fighting for a union in the workplace,” he affirmed. “Some people don’t know what a union is. I tell them it’s one of the best things you can have at work. It’s one of the best things. “

Because large fast food companies like McDonald’s have not voluntarily introduced a $ 15 starting wage and have used company loopholes to not voluntarily recognize or negotiate with union representatives on behalf of workers, the Fight for $ 15 movement has one of the most experienced work tactics used: strikes. Hebert, Rush and Ciara have already participated in strikes. Although they all remember being nervous or skeptical when they first encounter the opportunity, everyone has a very different perspective today.

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