St. Louis Custodians Rally for $15 Minimum Wage
As contract negotiations between private St. Louis, Missouri, businesses and a labor union representing more than 2,100 custodians begins today, the custodians are speaking out for a US$15 hourly minimum wage, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Minimum wage has been the subject of heated debate throughout the state. The current minimum wage is $8.60 an hour. Last November, voters approved a statewide increase that will bring the wage as the cost of living is higher in the city than in other areas of the state.
Last week, custodians in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 labor union, which largely represents cleaning workers at private businesses, rallied in downtown St. Louis seeking $15 hourly. According to SEUI Local 1, the median wage for custodians in the area is $10.75. Many works two jobs in order to afford rent and other basic costs.
SEIU representatives say several area employers, such as Washington University in St. Louis and BJC Health Care, have decided they will raise their minimum wage to $15. The St. Louis government cannot follow the example of private businesses because a state law prevents municipalities from raising their minimum wage above the state’s wage.