As many predicted, a recently passed St. Louis City wage mandate was the subject of a lawsuit filed this week in St. Louis City Circuit Court by a diverse coalition of Missouri business groups and healthcare providers. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of the ordinance which mandates increases in the City’s wage floor beginning October 15, 2015. Absent the order, MRA and the other plaintiffs assert, businesses will suffer immediate and irreparable harm that cannot be rectified at a later date when the court ultimately determines the ordinance exceeds the City’s charter authority.
In support of the motion for the restraining order, MRA submitted an affidavit indicating the effect of the wage mandate on a typical City restaurant. Information contained in the affidavit was based on an analysis of 138 restaurants. The typical restaurant would, the affidavit indicates, operate at a loss in 2016 under the terms of the ordinance. A copy of the MRA affidavit can be accessed HERE.
In a July 10 letter to St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, a group of fourteen business associations expressed its view that the City of St. Louis, or any local government entity, including a charter city, lacks the legal authority to enact any minimum wage for private sector employers. Not surprisingly, Mayor Slay indicated he anticipated the filing of the lawsuit and indicated the City would defend it.
MRA’s participation in the lawsuit reflects its belief that the establishment of any minimum wage is a matter clearly reserved for state law and, further, that in order for Missouri to attract and retain job opportunities for its citizens, our state needs one consistent standard for wages and benefits – not a confusing patchwork of many different local laws.