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St. Louis County To Boost Wages For Lowest-Paid County Employees To $15 By 2022

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the plan for a $15 hourly wage for the lowest paid county employees on Jan. 30, 2020.
St. Louis County

Updated on Jan. 31 with new information on negotions between SEIU Local 1 and contractors.

The janitorial bargaining team representing SEIU Local 1 has reached a tentative agreement with Clean-Tech, the contractor that employs the union's members to clean buildings around metro St. Louis, including St. Louis County government buildings. The union is not releasing details, but members will vote on whether to accept the tentative agreement in the coming days.

Original Story from Jan. 30:

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced Thursday a proposal to raise some county government employees’ hourly wages to $15 by 2022. 

Officials estimate that implementing the change will cost $2.9 million over a three-year period. The pay will be increased incrementally starting with $13 for 2020. Page said the change will take several months to take effect.

“The council has already approved significant wages for our police and other public safety employees over the past few years, but some of our employees have been left behind,” Page said in a press conference Thursday. 

Page said this change affects “300 to 400” of the lowest-paid, full-time county government employees. These employees include those in administrative and support roles, he said.

The majority of the money is coming from general funds, and Page said much of it will come from the budget to fill open positions. 

In 2019, City Treasurer Tishaura Jones’ office and Washington University increased hourly wages for their employees. 

In early January, St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson signed an executive order to increase the hourly wage to $15 for all civilian city workers. 

Page said this increase has no connection to the city’s minimum wage increase.

Contract workers

Page said he supports raises for contract employees as well. Once the wage hike goes into effect, the county will require future bids from contractors to match the incremental hourly rate increases.

Members of SEIU Local 1 clean St. Louis County buildings but are directly employed by a company, Clean-Tech. The union was in negotiations with Clean-Tech until the end of the day on Thursday, and said it will strike if the company does not agree to raise the hourly wage to $15.

In a press release, the union praised St. Louis County for putting contracted workers “on a path to $15.”

At a protest on Monday, union members were joined by the Rev. Darryl Gray of the Missouri Faith Leadership Council. He was there to support the workers in their demands. 

"Of course janitors and their families and the union as a whole is hoping for a positive negotiation that will wrap up more sooner than later," Gray said. "But janitors who I stood with are adamant that they are prepared to go on strike, and you’re talking about a union membership of about 2,100 people throughout the region, and that’s 2,100 families." 

Correction: St. Louis County can in fact require contractors to meet wage requirements for workers. A previous version of this story said the county could not.

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Kayla is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.
Kae Petrin covers public transportation and housing as a digital reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.