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Krewson Raises Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour For St. Louis City Employees

Mayor Lyda Krewson announces changes to homeless services during winter months at a press conference Oct. 30, 2019.
File Photo | Andrea Smith | St. Louis Public Radio
Mayor Lyda Krewson announces changes to homeless services during winter months at a press conference Oct. 30, 2019.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for civilian city workers. 

The move is part of a strategy to attract and retain workers in city government and address “chronic understaffing,” according to an executive order signed by Krewson on Friday.

The change means more than 700 current employees will see bigger paychecks starting mid-February, according to the mayor’s spokesman. He said the city expects to hire 300 seasonal workers this summer at the increased hourly rate. 

“Constantly having positions go unfilled is hurting our ability to provide good services to our residents,” Krewson said in a press release. “More competitive pay is the right thing to do and will boost morale, reduce turnover, and help fill these open positions.”

As of Friday, the city’s website lists more than 100 job openings, including some that pay close to $10 an hour. 

Krewson said she will ask the city’s Civil Service Commission and Board of Aldermen to approve increasing annual merit raises from 1.5% to 3% for civilian city workers during the next two fiscal years. She also will request one-time $1,000 bonuses for the same group of employees, which includes clerks, engineers, accountants and tradespeople.

Bills approving those increases would need to be sponsored, introduced and voted on by members of the Board of Aldermen.

The mayor’s executive order comes after Treasurer Tishaura Jones promised in May 2019 to pay all staff in her department at least $15 an hour. Several private employers in St. Louis, including BJC HealthCare and Washington University, made similar commitments last year. 

Krewson’s executive order noted that budget constraints have prevented the city from offering consistent raises to longtime employees. The mayor’s office said that the city’s personnel director is negotiating additional financial benefits for employees in the police, fire and other emergency services departments.

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Kae Petrin covers public transportation and housing as a digital reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.