Workers Rally, Shed Tears Over Pending Min. Wage Changes

Alex Degman | @alexdegmanKMOX

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Some chanted, some shouted and some openly wept in south St. Louis as they urged policy makers to leave the city’s minimum wage alone.

Related Story: St. Louis Businesses Pressured to Keep $10 Minimum Wage

Wanda Rogers joined dozens at Southwest Diner to urge policy makers to leave St. Louis’s locally-enacted minimum wage ordinance alone. Rogers has four children and eleven grandchildren — she supports them through a job at McDonald’s and lives in what she calls one of the city’s worst neighborhoods.

“Them taking this raise back from me would be a very bad impact,” Rogers told the crowd as she choked back tears. “I’m already in the process of losing my home, and will not have anywhere to go with me and my grandkids. So I’m asking, please don’t take this back from us. We really need this.

“I get tired of my grandson seeing me cry, and he has to come and say ‘Granny, stop crying. It’s okay. One day you’re gonna be able to afford a house for us to live in.’ I live in a very bad neighborhood. Every other day someone’s over there getting killed.”

Other speakers, including Alexis Straughter who’s employed as a home health care worker, asked lawmakers to put themselves in her shoes.

“How can you look your kids in the eyes and tell them they can’t go to a dance tournament, or they can’t run track, or you can’t feed your family or you gotta look at your daughter in the eyes and say ‘I gotta call your granddaddy to order your asthma medication!'”

St. Louis passed an ordinance to hike the wage from the state’s $7.70 minimum. The Republican-led state legislature then passed a measure to disallow such local increases — the governor won’t veto it.

The wage goes back to $7.70 at the end of August — but there’s a local effort mounting to keep the wage up. Learn more about that coming up Monday, July 17 on Total Information AM.

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