Published on Feb 13, 2014
This week, Steve Hebert tracks the efforts in the Kansas City area to increase the minimum wage. Fast food workers on the Missouri side of the metro participated in a series of strikes last year to eliminate what they consider a "poverty wage" and they plan to continue their push this year. Randy Mason sits down with Cydney Millstein to discuss her efforts to preserve the history and document the architectural treasures located at the Pratt & Whitney Plant on Bannister Road. Large format images of the site are currently on display at the Belger Arts Center. And finally this week, we watch as the cast and crew prepares for the opening of Playwright in Residence Nathan Louis Jackson's When I Come to Die at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
This week, our show begins with a topic that's gotten a lot of attention in the last few months—raising the minimum wage. Currently, the hourly rate is $7.25 in Kansas and $7.50 in Missouri, which is the same as the federal rate. Starting last summer, the Kansas City area saw a series of strikes by fast food workers demanding "15 and a Union." It was part of a nationwide movement to address what the workers feel is a "poverty wage." President Obama recently mentioned it in his State of the Union Address. Reporter Steve Hebert followed the strikers during several of last year's demonstrations. He gives us a look inside the issue and the economics that surround it. No workers were fired for their participation in the demonstrations, but some employees at a Popeye's did temporarily see a reduction in their hours. They have since had them restored. Organizers of the strikes, which so far have all taken place on the Missouri side, say they plan to continue their activities again this year.
Just this week, Cydney Millstein was described in the Kansas City Star as a "history maven." She's one of the people we always look to when it comes to historic preservation and architectural treasures. Usually that means notable homes or beautiful old office buildings, but a new exhibition at the Belger Arts Center called Velocity of Change focuses on something completely different and huge—the Pratt & Whitney Plant on Bannister Road.
Nathan Louis Jackson is a Playwright In Residence at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. He grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, went to K-State, then to Juilliard, and has already seen his plays produced at Lincoln Center and in regional theatres across the country. One of them, When I Come to Die, opens this weekend at the Kansas City Rep. Randy Mason watched as cast and crew started the rehearsal process on Jackson's death row drama. When I Come to Die starts in previews on February 14. It will run on the Rep's Copaken stage downtown through March 15. On March 13, a special performance to benefit Reaching Out From Within will be held. That organization works with incarcerated individuals to help them more productively re-enter society. Alumni of the group will speak after the show.
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