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Associated Industries of Missouri joins suit against St. Louis minimum wage ordinance

Associated Industries of Missouri announced this morning it is joining with other business groups around Missouri in filing suit against the City of St. Louis, challenging a recently passed city ordinance that would raise the minimum wage in the city on October 15, 2015.

The group is also seeking a restraining order to prevent the implementation and enforcement of the ordinance as companies will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the new minimum wage were to go into effect as planned. The harm caused by allowing the ordinance to go into effect cannot be redressed or “fixed later” when the court finally determines that the ordinance was illegal.

State law clearly states that no municipality shall establish or mandate a minimum wage which exceeds the state minimum wage. The St. Louis ordinance is in direct violation of that law. The lawsuit asks that the ordinance be thrown out immediately because it is in conflict with the state constitution and state statutes.

Further, the lawsuit points out that by passing the ordinance, St. Louis exceeded its charter authority. The question of whether employers should be required to pay their employees a minimum wage, and the amount of that wage, is one of state and national interest. This is outside the scope of the city’s charter authority.

“State law, thanks to an initiative approved by Missouri voters, clearly sets a state minimum wage that must be paid by a Missouri employer,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “No city ordinance may override that state statute. The City of St. Louis was put on notice of the legal problems with their ordinance, but they passed the ordinance anyway. Now, we are asking the courts to invalidate the obviously illegal ordinance,” said McCarty.

Founded in 1919, Associated Industries of Missouri is the oldest general business trade association in Missouri representing Missouri employers.

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