Kansas City Council votes to require certain companies to pay higher minimum wage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just days after Kansas City voters approved a $10 per hour minimum wage in August, a 2017 law approved by Missouri legislators setting it back to $7.70 took effect. Thursday, Kansas City Council and Mayor Sly James drew a line in the sand.

“They want to preempt us when we do anything. So at some point in time you just have to say, you know what let’s just have a fight and see who wins," Mayor Sly James said during a debate about how to encourage companies to comply with the higher minimum wage.

The minimum wage won't change for everyone, but it could for any company who does business with the city, unless they meet certain requirements. Companies bidding on city project either have to pay the minimum wage approved by voters, which will go up to $15 per hour in the next five years, or give compelling answers to questions about company benefits, training, and career tracks.

“I just think that’s a whole lot of work to ask our local small businesses to undertake just to do business in Kansas City," Councilwoman Heather Hall said.

Hall was one of two to vote against that ordinance and separate one that could impact the rest of the 23,000 businesses in town who don’t do business with the city.

City Council approved $10,000 in funding to start giving stickers to businesses who request them to put in their windows who are in compliance with the minimum wage hike approved by voters.

If businesses ask for a sticker and are later reported not to be paying those higher wages they will face city fines.

Blue Nile Cafe owner Daniel Fickru said he would be interested in obtaining a voter-approved minimum wage compliance sticker from the city.

"Everything for people with minimum wage is getting hard to live. We have to find a way even for employees to find a place to live, so we have to give it a chance," he said.