Proposition B, otherwise known as Raise Up Missouri, was certified on November 6, 2018. The ballot initiative changed Missouri’s minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60, and it is set to increase gradually each year until it reaches $12 in 2023.
Proposition B, however, does not apply to “public employers”. It defines public employers as “employers that are the state or political subdivision of the state, including a department, agency, officer, bureau, division, board, commission, or instrumentality of the state, or a city, county, town, village, school district, or other political subdivision of the state”.
This means public universities like MU do not have to pay employees the new minimum wage, so some university employees are still being paid $7.85.
“We absolutely know that we have to stay competitive in our marketplace,” MU spokesperson Christian Basi said. “And in fact, many thousands of our starting positions are well above minimum wage including many that students work at, as well as those that are staffed by full-time staff members.”
MU student Xander Negozio works at the desk in the Honors College as a part of the Federal Work-Study program. Negozio said he comes from a poor family, so he uses the program to help pay for school. He said he is interested in getting a job in downtown Columbia instead of MU, but he thinks other jobs are less accommodating for students.
“They wouldn’t be willing to work with my schedule as much. I’d be more likely to have to work evenings and weekends, and I wouldn’t be able to do any schoolwork at work,” Negozio said.
But he said the higher wages are tempting, since he says he is one of the employees who makes $7.85.
“The school just doesn’t give enough money,” Negozio said.
Basi said the university’s wages are reviewed every year.
“We are always making a determination on whether or not we believe those salaries at those levels are going to make us competitive for the people we are looking for and are a fair wage for the responsibilities that are needed to complete that position,” Basi said.