Kansas City’s $13 an hour minimum wage ordinance goes by the wayside

%{[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Ed Ford was right all along.

The former Kansas City, Missouri, City Council member was the only person on the previous council to vote against a minimum-wage increase last summer. Ford, a lawyer, saw the writing in Missouri statutes that prevented cities from increasing the minimum wage beyond the state’s $7.65-an-hour level. 

Ford argued that he didn’t want to pass an ordinance to increase minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020 because he didn’t want to give those who struggle to get by on antiquated wages a “false hope” that the city could sustain its own law. Ford was outvoted, 12-1. The rest of the council felt that voting to increase the minimum wage was the right thing to do.

A new city council is in place, and on Thursday a majority of its members voted to repeal that ordinance. The city agreed with Ford’s view, that Missouri law preempted Kansas City’s minimum-wage law. Dan Fowler, a Northland councilman, called the decision “gut wrenching” but agreed to the repeal due to the legal reality facing the city.

“Raising the minimum wage is still the right thing to do, it’s just that we can’t do it,” said Mayor Sly James. “The [Missouri] General Assembly can do it and they should do it.”

(Voting in favor of the repeal were Scott Wagner, Dan Fowler, Jolie Justus, Kevin McManus, Scott Taylor, Alissia Canady, Sly James. Voting against were Quinton Lucas, Jermaine Reed, Teresa Loar and Lee Barnes. Katheryn Shields and Heather Hall were not present.)

Activists packed the council chambers in a show of support for a minimum-wage increase, holding signs and wearing shirts urging growth in worker wages. Council members urged them to take their voices to the Missouri General Assembly, a majority of which has obstructed the minimum wage issue. Council members also suggested a petition initiative, a likelier route for increasing the minimum wage.

They were starkly silent when the repeal passed.

Categories: News