Top

blog

Stories

 

Minimum Wage: U.S. Secretary Of Labor Seth Harris Is Meeting With St. Louis Workers

Categories: News

minimum-wage-protest.jpg
Krystyna Ninh for RFT
St. Louis protester earlier this month.
Update: Officials say the event was cancelled due to "weather-created flight delays."

Original post: Earlier this month, St. Louis got national attention when local fast-food workers participated in a major rally demanding better pay. Some of them spoke of particularly terrible conditions and harassing bosses in local restaurants.

And today, the acting head of the United States Department of Labor is visiting St. Louis to meet with low-wage workers to discuss federal efforts to raise the minimum wage.

The event this morning is not tied to the recent protests here, but it's possible that some of the workers in attendance could bring up the massive rallies in their comments to Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris.

See also:
- Photos/Video: Fast-Food Workers March Through Delmar Loop for Better Pay
- St. Louis Fast-Food Workers Protest for Better Pay, Right to Organize

The event -- at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Reform Congregation on Waterman Boulevard -- is part of a series of round-table discussions Harris and other officials have had with workers in locations all over the country.

stl-protest-2.jpg
Krystyna Ninh for RFT

Harris will also stop in Kansas City later today, officials say.

The press event is designed to draw attention to President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage, which he discussed in his February State of the Union address.

The White House has proposed raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour.

seth-harris-roundtable.jpg
via
Seth Harris at a Baltimore workers roundtable to discuss minimum wage.

Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and Congress have introduced bills for minimum wage hikes that go beyond what the president has proposed and the debate will likely continue into next year.

In St. Louis, the fast-food protests have centered on the right to a living wage above the industry norm -- as well as the right to organize through unions.

"In the past three months, I've met with workers earning at or near the minimum wage in 13 cities across the country," Harris writes in a recent blog post on the roundtables. "These workers have educated me about what it's like to live and try to raise a family on the minimum wage. They have also shared with me what a moderate increase in the minimum wage - like the one President Obama has proposed, from $7.25 to $9 an hour - would mean in their lives. They've told stories of difficult daily choices, of sacrificing one necessity for another, just to survive."

Continue for more photos from St. Louis labor rallies and the full press release for today's event

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
James Madison
James Madison

I can be the hardest working buggy whip maker in the city. It does not mean I deserve a living wage. People need skills that are in demand. That is the problem. Unskilled labor force expectations of a living wage. When I was a teenager, I did not expect my minimum wage job to support a family of four or more. I only expected it to pay for my fun and leisure. I made sure I got a good education to get a good job/career. If you want to fix the problem, start in grade school, and make sure each person is taught the value of learning. This lesson needs to be taught every year to every person. Maybe, some people will start to take it seriously. You may not need an education to dig a ditch when you are 22 years old. Strong backs, weak minds are in demand. However, when you are 62 years old, your back is not so strong, but without an education, your mind will remain weak. Any ditch digging company will pay the 22 year old more for shoveling than to the 62 year old who failed to learn any new skills over the 40 years.

James Madison
James Madison

The problem with this "simple" approach is that the official Cost of Living Index is rigged. How often do you buy a washer and dryer? Do you buy the same sort of shirts used in their formulation? In the end, the index is political, not objective that everyone would agree. The fairest wage is that obtained by supply and demand. When the demand for labor is high, wages increase. When the demand for labor is low, wages fall. Minimum wage jobs are filled by less educated. If you artificially increase the less educated wages, you devalue the educated wages. Thus making an incentive for many middle grounders to not seek better education and better employment opportunities.

Rachel Duncan
Rachel Duncan

If you feel like minimum wage should not be raised because you are worried about your Mcdoubles costing more I should point out they already cost you more. Keeping people in poverty like this keeps them on the welfare rolls and you are paying for their healthcare, their foodstamps etc.

Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

I read it, it's still a sweeping judgment. So is attempting to determine another's intelligence based on one typed sentence. I do want to say that responding to your comment was kind of impulsive on my part. I know that if you and I got into an argument that lasted until the heat death of the sun, we would die with our original opinions unchanged. But before I knew it, I was hitting send and now here we are.

Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

Them problem of people working hard and still living in poverty.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

fix what problem? the problem of people working hard to get a better job?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

i clearly said "usually". please read what i typed before people make a sweeping judgement that you're a moron.

Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

Life must get really easy when you can make a sweeping judgement on people to keep from taking their problems seriously.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

if you paid every burger king worker $14.00 per hour, most of those people would still be "poor" because it's usually lack of initiative and a bad work ethic that keeps them in crappy paying jobs.

Fred Hoffman
Fred Hoffman

also be aware of who is slipping their dick into your drink..you may kill the poor...but you will never forget the taste...and furthermore I just want to kick them all in the pussy..if you feel otherwise...lol..

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

In this debate: Condescending poor people yell about the "disparity in skill sets" between themselves and even poorer people, not realizing that ALL low end wages should rise. The real problem is corporate welfare, tax evasion and increasing executive salaries/bonuses. They did this poor vs. poor thing in the 1920's people. Wake the fuck up.

Fred Hoffman
Fred Hoffman

in addition very few if any have a traditional pension..it seems like the modern industrialists want you to be in awe. with their knowledge how to step on a chicken sandwich.and smile when you have to eat from the dollar menu..

Fred Hoffman
Fred Hoffman

yes..its so f@cking stupid..they dont want to pay those workers more..or want the working poor asking for public assistance...pay them a living wage..and your welfare rolls will decrease...

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Yeah, 30$ an hour, then everyone could make decent money.. What could possible go wrong?

Jay Dee
Jay Dee

Minimum wage should've been indexed 25 years ago like Soc. Securty & other stuff to adjust with inflation. After that, there's nothing left to do - it automatically takes care of itself.

Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

Wages go up....cost of living goes up....everything stays the same. Fix the whole problem.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Pfft. Lazy people just need to work harder and stop mooching off of awesome people.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...