Ascension is hiking its minimum wage to $11 per hour starting July 5. The move to raise pay to a "socially just" wage will affect nearly 10,000 employees, or about 7 percent of Ascension's total workforce of 150,000. In St. Louis, about 200 workers, most employed at two senior care facilities, will benefit. With this move Ascension now joins other major employers who have made similar commitments to boosting pay for hourly employees. In February, Wal-Mart pledged to raise starting wages to at least $9 starting in April followed by an increase to $10 by early next year. The move was followed by its competitor, Target, a month later.