For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Justin Stein, 816-805-2385, Justin@mojwj.org
Kansas City Jobs with Justice Coalition Celebrates Local Minimum Wage Increase
New citywide ordinance calls for immediate increase in minimum wage, and incremental increases to $13/hour by 2020
Kansas City —Workers, faith leaders and community leaders in the Jobs with Justice Coalition today celebrated the City Council’s passage of a new citywide wage ordinance that immediately raises the minimum wage, followed by gradual annual increases through 2020 until the minimum wage reaches $13 and hour. The decision came after weeks of grassroots pressure and negotiations with Mayor Sly James, and after years of organizing by workers to move Kansas City and Missouri towards a living wage.
“We are very pleased the Mayor and City Council decided to improve the lives of thousands of Kansas City workers,” said Dr Bob Minor, Chair of the KC JwJ Workers’ Rights Board . “Raising Kansas City’s minimum wage will help thousands of working families and this is going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars back into our local economy. This is going to be good for everyone.”
“This is going to be huge for our members who work in Kansas City, said Lindsey Walker, City Director of SEIU Local 1. “We would like to thank Mayor James and the City Council for standing up for the hard working people of Kansas City who deserve a raise.”
“Today’s vote by the City Council is a huge victory for working people, and it’s because workers, community leaders, and faith leaders organized to make it happen,” said Sharon al-Uqdah, member of APWU 67 and Jobs with Justice leader. “Jobs with Justice is going to continue to fight for working families to have more power in their workplaces and in their communities, and today’s decision is a major step in the right direction.”
The Kansas City City Council has been debating whether to increase the city’s local minimum wage since May, after the state legislature passed legislation (HB722) banning municipalities from doing so, except for within a short window before August 28.
Low-wage workers in Kansas City have been organizing and going on strike for close to two years. The “Fight for $15 and a Union” campaign has swept the nation, helping usher in minimum wage increases throughout the country. The last significant increase in the minimum wage in Missouri came in 2006, after Missouri Jobs with Justice ran a successful ballot initiative to increase the state minimum wage to a higher level than the federal minimum wage. This is the first time in Missouri a municipality has passed a city-wide minimum wage that is higher than that mandated by the state.