Activists Drop Off Over 10,000 Petition Signatures to Republican Leaders

On Monday, June 8th, members of the Raise the Wage PA coalition delivered over 10,000 petition signatures calling on the state legislature to raise PA’s minimum wage to at least $10.10 for all PA workers.

After a brief press conference, workers and other advocates went to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Senate Labor & Industry Chair Lisa Baker, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, and House Labor & Industry Chair Mauree Gingrich to give them the petitions, and to demand that they stop stonewalling the process and allow a vote on legislation to raise the minimum wage.

They then stopped by Governor Wolf’s office, where the Governor himself met them and encouraged them to continue fighting for an increase.

State Senate Hearing on Raising the Minimum Wage

On Tuesday, May 5, the Senate Labor & Industry Committee held hearings on the impacts of raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. Workers, business owners, economists and advocates testified in favor of raising the wage. As usual, opposition lobbying groups were there to trot out the usual misinformation and distortion that they like to use to prevent workers from earning a decent wage. However, supporters who testified did a great job pushing back and showing that raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 is good for workers, good for business, and good for the economy.

Press Events to highlight new Keystone Research Center report on benefits of raising the minimum wage

On Wednesday, April 22, the Keystone Research Center released a report showing how many workers in each county in PA will be impacted by raising the minimum wage to $10.10.
Raise the Wage PA held press events around the state on that day to highlight the importance of raising the wages of over 1.2 million Pennsylvanians and pumping $1.8 billion in new wages into the state’s economy. Press events were held in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Indiana, Lehigh, Philadelphia & York counties.

2015 Legislation in the PA General Assembly

PA Senate

SB195 Senator Christine Tartaglione – D – Philadelphia County

Date: Minimum Wage Set to:
July 1, 2015 $8.67 per hour
Jan. 1, 2016 $10.10 per hour

Increased by annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Increases penalties for wage theft up to 2x subject wages plus wages themselves. Provides for increased fines. Increases record-keeping requirements for Dept. of Labor & Industry and for employers. Creates a Wage Enforcement Fund. Removes statewide preemption of local minimum wage laws.

 

SB196 Senator Christine Tartaglione – D – Philadelphia County

Date: Tipped Minimum Wage Set to:
July 1, 2015 $3.95 per hour
Jan. 1, 2016 70% of minimum wage

Increases record-keeping requirements for Dept. of Labor & Industry

 

SB197 Senator Christine Tartaglione – D – Philadelphia County

Increases minimum wage by annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

 

SB198 Senator Christine Tartaglione – D – Philadelphia County

Provides for additional fines for wage theft. Increases record-keeping requirements for Dept. of Labor & Industry and for employers. Creates a Wage Enforcement Fund.

 

SB199 Senator Christine Tartaglione – D – Philadelphia County

Outlaws deduction of credit card fees from employee tips.

 

SB836 Senator Daylin Leach – D – Delaware & Montgomery Counties

Raises the minimum wage (including tipped workers) to $15 per hour 30 days after passage. Increases minimum wage with annual cost of living adjustment beginning 1 year after passage.

 

SB610 Senator Scott Wagner – R – York

Date: Minimum Wage Set to:
July 1, 2015 $7.75 per hour
July 1, 2016 $8.25 per hour
July 1, 2017 $8.75 per hour


Workers 18 and under are exempt from the raise. Includes language to reinforce the preemption of local minimum wage laws.

 

PA House

HB436 Representative Mark Cohen – D – Philadelphia County

Date: Minimum Wage Set to:
60 days after passage $9.00 per hour
425 days after passage $10.10 per hour
790 days after passage $11.50 per hour
Date: Tipped Minimum Wage Set to:
Upon passage $3.83 per hour
365 days after passage $4.83 per hour
730 days after passage 70% of the minimum wage

Increased by annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Department of Labor & Industry must collect information on numbers of employers who violate act (including amounts of fines imposed) and publish it on their website (updated every six months). Removes statewide preemption of local minimum wage laws.

 

 

HB2017 Representative Mark Cohen – D – Philadelphia County

Date: Minimum Wage Set to:
90 days after passage $9.00 per hour
365 days after passage $10.50 per hour
730 days after passage $12.50 per hour
1095 days after passage $13.50 per hour
1460 days after passage $15 per hour

Increased by annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning 1 year after minimum wage reaches $15 per hour. Department of Labor & Industry must collect information on numbers of employers who violate act (including amounts of fines imposed) and publish it on their website (updated every six months). Removes statewide preemption of local minimum wage laws.

 

 

HB250 Representative Patty Kim – D – Dauphin County

Date: Minimum Wage Set to:
6 months after passage $9.00 per hour
12 months after passage $10.10 per hour
Date Tipped Minimum Wage Set to:
6 months after passage 50% of the minimum wage
12 months after passage 75% of the minimum wage

 

Increased by annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning Dec. 31, 2016. Increases fines for wage theft. Removes statewide preemption of local minimum wage laws.

2015 Kickoff Event

On February 9th, over 300 workers, activists and supporters gather at the Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg for our 2015 Kickoff event. We were joined by Democratic & Republican lawmakers who support raising the minimum wage, as well as Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. After speakers and workshops on the issue, we marched to the Capitol, with the Lieutenant Governor front and center with low wage workers. Participants then went into the Capitol to lobby their elected officials to support raising the minimum wage.

Sept. 29th “Vote PA a Raise” Statewide Day of Action – Events Recap

On Monday, September 29th, advocates and workers came together in 10 cities across Pennsylvania for the “Vote PA a Raise” statewide day of action to call on their elected officials to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour.

Participants highlighted the upcoming state level elections, and emphasized that their results will likely impact whether or not we will see a wage hike in our state. This is why it is so important that Pennsylvanians show up at the polls in November. 70% of PA residents support raising the minimum wage, and it’s time that our elected officials and those running for office begin to listen up.

Below are recaps of each event:

Allentown: A press conference was held with 11 guest speakers – five current members of the General Assembly and 6 candidates running on the November ballot.  All of them support an increase in the minimum wage. The speakers included Sen. Pat Browne, the majority whip.  Members of the House included Michael Schlossberg, Daniel McNeill, Steve Samuelson, and Bob Freeman.  Candidates included Pete Schweyer (22nd legislative dist.), Michael Beyer (131),  Leslie Altieri (138), Michael Molovinsky and Terri Powell (183). All are Democrats except Sen. Browne and Mr. Molovinsky (Independent).
Channel 69, and The Morning Call were there. As noted by one of the speakers, the group was diverse.  As a result, each one had something unique to say.

Altoona:
Workers from Valley View Nursing Home and Altoona Hospital engaged in a silent action outside the Blair County courthouse around raising the minimum wage. Each worker represented a stage in the life of a person. First was a high school graduate, the last was waiting for the minimum wage to be raised. They saw decent foot traffic and favorable responses. They had both WJAC and WTAJ come out.

Erie:
Members of the Mental Health Association visited various locations in the area to give talks on raising the minimum wage, and are excited to continue the fight moving forward.

Harrisburg:
A press conference was held with various guest speakers, including Rick Bloomingdale, President of the PA AFL-CIO, Sandy Strauss of the PA Council of  Churches, and Sen. Judy Schwank (D – Berks). Anita Mentzer, of Unitarian Universalist PLAN, was interviewed by ABC 27, and did a great job pushing back on some of the opposition’s talking points. The event was covered by ABC 27 and WGAL 8.

Media: Working Families and Action United did a great job pulling the event together, with good turnout and participation from the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Sen. Mike Stack (D – Phila), Sen. Daylin Leach, and State Senate candidate John Kane. The event was covered with a detailed story by CBS 3.

Morrisville: A very successful event was held in Bucks County. Participants included labor, senior, and religious leaders, Raise the Wage PA member Lance Haver, State Senate candidate Steve Cickay, and candidate for Congress Kevin Strouse. The event was covered by local media, who carried the message well.

Philadelphia: They had close to 100 turn out from many organizations in the Philadelphia event.  We marched from Fergie’s Pub (an ROC identified high road employer) to the Governor’s Philadelphia office. Speakers included a Rev. Randy Barge, Olney Presbyterian Church, State Senate candidate Art Heywood, UFCW’s John Meyerson, low wage Burger King worker Jose Torres and Jason McCartney, a tipped worker from ROC who works as a bar back at a local bar, Nadia Hewka of Community Legal Services, Nick Alpers of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Tim Styer of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Reformation and John Dodds of PUP. They also had a ballot box for people to vote themselves a raise. The vote was overwhelming for a higher minimum wage in PA. The event was covered by ABC 6 and Fox 29.

Pittsburgh:
State Rep Dom Costa went grocery shopping with Angie Kemper, SEIU 32BJ member, on a minimum wage budget.  Minimum wage workers have just $77 dollars on average per week to provide for their food and transportation. Rep Costa was challenged to buy a weekly bus pass ($25) and use his remaining $52 at a ShurSave to get groceries for the week. Rep Costa had a very powerful experience, having to make some hard decisions and even putting back nearly $15 of groceries that he couldn’t afford. The event, and subsequent press conference was covered by WTAE, KDKA and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Reading:
Organizers held a rally with supporters from Keystone Progress, PSEA, and Alliance for Retired Americans, as well as the Mayor of Reading. The event got great coverage on WFMZ (Channel 69).

York:
Participants met at Cherry Lane and marched to Sen. Scott Wagner’s (R – York) office, where they held a protest. Great coverage by Fox 43 and a nice video by visual journalist Paul Kuehnel.

Sept. 29th “Vote PA a Raise” Statewide Day of Action

On Monday, September 29th, advocates and workers came together in 10 cities across Pennsylvania for the “Vote PA a Raise” statewide day of action to call on their elected officials to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour. Participants highlighted the upcoming state level elections, and emphasized that their results will likely impact whether or not we will see a wage hike in our state. This is why it is so important that Pennsylvanians show up at the polls in November. 70% of PA residents support raising the minimum wage, and it’s time that our elected officials and those running for office begin to listen up.

“Vote PA Workers a Raise” Statewide Day of Action

This Election We Can Vote PA Workers a Raise!

Statewide Action Day for a Fair Minimum Wage in PA

Monday, September 29th

Every state surrounding Pennsylvania has already raised their minimum wage.  In our state we are still stuck at a $7.25 minimum wage.

On September 29th we are holding rallies throughout the state to demand that our elected officials-

  • Raise the PA minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, including
  • A cost of living adjustment and
  • Include tipped workers for the full minimum wage.

Over 1 million low wage PA workers deserve fair pay for their hard work.

Events will be held in Allentown, Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Media, Morrisville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, and York. For details, contact the organizers listed below:

Allentown: Janet Ney, CACLV, 484-893-1106, jney@caclv.org

Altoona: AJ Marin, SEIU Healthcare PA, 814-571-9614, aj.marin@seiuhcpa.org

Erie: Diana Ames, Mental Health Association of NW PA, 814-452-4462 x141, pceh@hotmail.com

Harrisburg: Anita Mentzer, Unitarian Universalist PLAN, 717-507-5646, anita.s.mentzer@gmail.com
Sandy Strauss, PA Council of Churches, 717-545-4761, s.strauss@pachurches.org

Media: Kati Sipp, PA Working Families, 267-240-3788, ksipp@workingfamilies.org

Morrisville: Lance Haver, 215-906-6230, lance.haver@yahoo.com

Philadelphia: John Dodds, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, 215-557-0822 x102, jdoddspup@aol.com

Pittsburgh: Erin Kramer, One Pittsburgh, 614-264-1301, erin@onepittsburgh.org

Reading: Oona Chatterjee, Make the Road PA, 347-268-1892, ochatterjee@populardemocracy.org

York: Zach Hause, Central PA Area Labor Federation, 814-335-3277, hausecentralpaalf@gmail.com

June 3rd Rally & Lobby Day in Harrisburg

On June 3rd, supporters from across Pennsylvania joined low wage workers in a rally & lobby day to raise the minimum wage. Workers spoke about trying to get by on poverty wages, the constant struggle of working for tips, and being victims of wage theft. Participants met with their elected officials throughout the day to let them know that $7.25 is not enough.

Raising the minimum wage does not stop employment growth

Despite what opponents claim, the evidence shows that raising the minimum wage does not lead to job loss. Check out what the Economic Policy Institute has to say about raising the minimum wage nationally:

Based on the economic multiplier effect that results from putting additional income in the hands of lower-income workers, raising the minimum wage will likely have a modest but positive impact on job creation, leading to an additional 85,000 net new jobs when fully phased in. Lower-income earners spend their income more immediately, more completely, and more locally, than do higher income earners, and therefore generate more economic activity. Increasing the wages of 27.8 million workers by $35 billion over the phase-in period generates an additional GDP impact of $22 billion.1

This finding is consistent with the most recent, highly rigorous, peer-reviewed economic literature based on an analysis of real-world minimum wage increases across counties on state borders that shows essentially no disemployment effect resulting from raising the minimum wage.2” (Source: EPI)

 

Last time Pennsylvania raised the minimum wage, job creation continued well into the Great Recession, when the national economy collapsed:

Foodserviceanddrinking

 

totalnonfarm

 

In fact, according to the Keystone Research Center raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would lead to the creation of 6,000 jobs across the state. That’s on top of increased wages for over 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers