St. Louis alderman fast-track minimum wage bill to exempt disabled workers

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The Board of Aldermen fast tracked a bill to exempt workers employed by sheltered workshops from the city's pending minimum wage hike. Alderman also debated whether developmentally disabled workers should be paid the same basic rates as everyone else. The workshops pay well below the state and federal minimum wage. Not all aldermen were in favor of the bill.

The issue was part of the debate in August when Aldermen approved a citywide minimum wage of $11 an hour by 2018. That measure is now being challenged in state court. The increase is set to go into force on October 15th, unless a judge grants a motion to block it next week.

A previous bill had exempted the non-profit workshops, which employ developmentally disabled workers, from the mandated increase but the exemption was later removed.

In order to get the bill passed before a deadline, the bill's sponsors pledged they would return the exemption at a later date.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie says a large number of jobs in the city's sheltered workshops were saved with the passage of the bill.

Four sheltered workshops are in the city. They provide jobs for people with developmental disabilities, giving them tasks like packaging, putting together boxes, or collating mail for businesses.