Missourians rally at the capitol for better wages, health insurance

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JEFFERSON CITY — Members of Stand Up KC will rally at the state Capitol Monday as part of the Fight for 15 and Moral Revival Movement. Similar rallies are taking place in 24 other state capitals and Washington, D.C.

Stand Up KC is a group for low-wage workers and their supporters who are pushing for legislators to increase minimum wage to $15/hr and expand Medicaid.

Fran Marion is one of the speakers Monday and joined Stand Up KC after a rally was held at her job at a fast food chain.

“My corporate boss said what they were saying was a joke, and I felt that basically he was saying was that my life was a joke, and I walked out,” Marion said.

Marion said what people fail to understand is how health care can still be unattainable when working a full time, low-wage job.

“If we go ahead and we get the insurance through our jobs, that’s taking out more money, and we were already barely making enough money to pay rent and support our children and our families,” Marion said.

Some Missourians want to see increased minimum wages, but feel it could hurt economically in other areas.

“Well, on the surface it sounds good, but I think it’ll have repercussions,” said Beth Thomas, a Jefferson City resident. “I think it’ll cause everything else to be raised.”

Thomas said a good compromise would be $11/hr.

The Rev. Dr. Rodney E. Williams, a Kansas City faith leader who supports Stand Up KC, will be at the rally.

“My role is to help facilitate the action that we’re having and once again stand with Stand Up KC to help them to know and realize that the faith community is with them,” Williams said. “We are about what they are about because they’re fighting for dignity and justice for all humanity, and we’re doing the same thing.”

This rally holds a special meaning for Stand Up KC. One of its leaders, Myrna Delos Santos, recently passed away after not being able to see a doctor due to her lack of health insurance.

Marion will speak at the rally in Delos Santos’ honor.

“If Myrna were here, she’d be standing right in the forefront with us,” Marion said.

In 2015, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill to prohibit political subdivisions from mandating a minimum wage above federal or state requirements. The governor's veto was later overridden by the General Assembly.

[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said Gov. Nixon vetoed a bill to increase the state minimum wage. Nixon vetoed a bill that would prohibit political subdivisions from mandating a minimum wage above federal or state requirements.]