Call the Senate Appropriations committee and ask them to support a fair minimum wage


Here is a list of Appropriations Committee members.  If you are in their districts, please let them know that you want immediate action in September to amend and report out of committee SB 199 to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10/hour with a cost of living escalator, an increase in the tipped minimum wage, and the ability for localities to set their own minimum wages.


Senate Appropriations Committee Members:

Sen. Pat Browne (R – Lehigh) – Committee Chair – (610) 821-8468

Sen. Kim Ward (R – Westmoreland) – Vice Chair – (724) 600-7002

Sen. David Argall (R – Berks, Schuylkill) – (570) 621-3400 

Sen. Lisa Baker (R – Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming ) – (570) 675-3931 

Sen. John Eichelberger (R – Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon) – (814) 695-8386

Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R – Bucks, Montgomery) – (215) 657-7700

Sen. Bob Mensch (R – Berks, Bucks, Montgomery) – (215) 368-3117

Sen. Mario Scavello (R – Monroe, Northampton) – (610) 863-1200

Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R – Lancaster) – (717) 397-1309 

Sen. Patricia Vance (R – Cumberland, York) – (717) 975-1985 

Sen. Elder Vogel (R – Beaver, Butler, Lawrence) – (724) 774-0444

Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R – Allegheny) – (412) 487-6600

Sen. Scott Wagner (R – York) – (717) 846-2828

Sen. Gene Yaw (R – Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union) – (570) 322-6457


Sen. Vincent Hughes (D – Philadelphia) – Minority Chair – (215) 879-7777 

Sen. John Blake (D – Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe) – Minority Vice Chair – (570) 207-2881

Sen. James Brewster (D – Allegheny, Westmoreland) – (412) 380-2242

Sen. Daylin Leach (D – Delaware, Montgomery) – (610) 768-4200

Sen. Judith Schwank (D – Berks) – (610) 929-2151

Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D – Philadelphia) – (215) 533-0440

Sen. Rob Teplitz (D – Dauphin, Perry) – (717) 232-2937

Sen. Sean Wiley (D – Erie) – (814) 453-2515

Sen. John Wozniak (D – Bedford, Cambria, Clearfield) – (814) 266-2277

Senate Labor & Industry Committee Meeting

On June 23rd, members of the Raise the Wage PA coalition went to Harrisburg to attend a Senate Labor & Industry Committee meeting. After 10 years without a vote on the minimum wage, a bill was reported out of the committee that may serve as a vehicle to raise the wage. 2 years of organizing across the state and in the districts of politicians holding minimum wage legislation hostage, we are one step closer to a pay raise for 1.3 million PA workers.

Raise the Wage PA holds Week of Action for a Fair Minimum Wage

During the week of March 13th, members of Raise the Wage PA rallied in 10 cities and towns across Pennsylvania, calling on the state legislature to raise the minimum wage. Legislation has been held hostage in committee for over 2 years, with the Republican leadership refusing to move the process forward and raise wages for over 1.2 million PA workers. It has been 10 years since the legislature voted on a minimum wage increase.

Raise the Wage PA Applauds Governor Wolf’s Decision to Raise Minimum Wage for State Workers and Contractors

Press Advisory

For more information contact John Dodds 215-557-0822 ext.102 or 267-975-4706

Raise the Wage PA, a state wide coalition of over 60 organizations, applauds Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to raise the minimum wage for state workers and those employed under state contracts.

“The Governor’s action is appropriate in light of the resistance of Republican committees to move legislation to raise the minimum wage for all Pennsylvania workers” said John Dodds, Director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project on behalf of the coalition.  “Legislation to increase the state minimum wage has been blocked in House and Senate Labor and Industry committees for well over a year.”

1.2 million PA workers would get a raise if legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour were enacted.  Recent research by the Keystone Research Center has shown that such a raise would generate $225 million for the state budget.

The Raise the Wage PA coalition has been advocating for a minimum wage increase for well over a year in PA. The coalition is sponsoring a Week of Action for a Fair Minimum Wage, the week of March 13 2016, where people in 13 PA communities will demand action to raise the state minimum wage to at least $10.10, including for tipped workers, with a cost of living escalator.

Raise the Wage PA presents Rep. Mauree Gingrich with the “Grinch of the Year” Award

On Tuesday, December 22, members of the Raise the Wage PA coalition in Lebanon, PA gave State Representative Mauree Gingrich the “Grinch of the Year” Award. Rep. Gingrich, who chairs the House Labor & Industry Committee, has kept legislation to raise the minimum wage bottled up in her committee since February. By doing so, she has prevented a wage hike for 13,000 Lebanon County workers and 1.3 million workers across the state.

Tipped workers and the minimum wage

Tipped workers hold a uniquely vulnerable position in our nation’s employment landscape. Federal law allows for pay discrimination between tipped and non-tipped workers, permitting employers to pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 per hour.

This is an equality issue

Nearly 70% of tipped restaurant workers are women, 40% of whom are mothers. The sub-minimum wage for tipped workers is in effect legislated pay inequity for a predominately female workforce. Eliminating the sub-minimum wage will help address the persistent gender pay gap, where women are paid just 78 cents for every dollar that men are paid.

  • The typical full-time, year round, female restaurant worker is paid 79% of what her male counterpart earns. For female servers – a tipped classification – that amount drops to just 68% of what their male counterparts are paid ($17,000 vs. $25,000 annually).(1)
    • Black female servers are paid only 60% of what male servers overall are paid, costing them more than $400,000 over a lifetime.
    • Tipped restaurant workers in states with a sub-minimum wage for tipped employees have a much higher poverty rates than states without a sub-minimum wage (20% vs. 14%). Because tipped workers are predominately female, this poverty burden falls disproportionately on women. Women restaurant workers are nearly 30% more likely to experience poverty than their male counterparts.(2)
  • The restaurant industry is the single largest source of sexual harassment claims in the U.S. This is largely the result of the fact that tipped workers earning a sub-minimum wage are dependent on the generosity of customers for their income, rather than their employers. As a result, they must often tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers, and are vulnerable to sexual harassment from coworkers and managers.
    • While 7% of American women work in the restaurant industry, it is responsible for 37% of all sexual harassment claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This is an economic issue

Tipped workers in states with a sub-minimum wage are twice as likely to live in poverty and rely on food stamps than the rest of the U.S. workforce. The vast majority of tipped workers earn just slightly above the minimum wage, even once tips are included.

  • In the seven states that have eliminated the tipped minimum wage, the poverty rate among tipped workers is lower by one third, 14% compared to 20%.
  • The reduction in poverty is even more significant for workers of color – a full 25% of workers of color in states with a sub-minimum wage live in poverty, compared to just 14% in states without a sub-minimum wage.
  • The restaurant industry is one of the largest growing industries in the nation, and the largest employer of minimum wage workers (1 in 12 Americans). The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the occupation sector of Food Preparation and Serving will add nearly a million jobs—one of the largest projected occupational increases across occupations—from 2010 to 2020.
  • Putting more money into the pockets of the growing number of low-income tipped workers, who will spend their additional earnings at local businesses, boosts the consumer spending that drives our nation’s economy.

This is a bipartisan issue

One Fair wage is a unifying issue with the power to transcend party lines. 71% of Americans – Democrats, Independents and Republicans – support a proposal to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers.

  • A recent national poll conducted by the National Employment Law Project shows that 71% of Americans favor the proposal to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers to match the regular minimum wage.
  • The measure to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers has polled positively on both sides of the aisle, 78% of Democrats, 71% of Independents, and 62% of Republicans favor the increase.

The current system doesn’t work

Under federal wage rules, when tips are not enough to bring a worker’s average wage up to the full minimum wage, the employer is supposed to make up the difference by “topping up” the employee. But this complex system requires extensive tracking and accounting of tip flows, leaving tipped workers vulnerable to abuse and inaccuracy.

  • While employers are legally required to “top-off” a tipped worker’s pay when it falls short, the complicated system enables employers to routinely violate wage and hour laws with minimal repercussion.
  • From 2010-2012, the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor conducted nearly 9,000 investigations in the full service sector of the restaurant industry, and found an 84% noncompliance rate. $56.8 million was recovered in back wages for nearly 82,000 workers and $2.5 million was assessed in civil money penalties.

This is an issue we can fix

The seven states, including the entire West Coast, that have already eliminated the sub-minimum wage account for over one million tipped workers and boast flourishing restaurant industries.

  • These states have higher restaurant sales per capita and higher average employment growth for tipped workers, and yet average menu prices are not higher than in states with a subminimum wage.(3) All of the states that require employers to directly pay the full minimum wage to tipped workers are expected to have greater restaurant job growth than states with a sub minimum wage for tipped workers in the next decade – in most cases, much greater.(4)
  • The restaurant industry projects employment growth over the next decade to be higher in states without a tipped minimum wage, 10.5% compared to 9.1% in states with a subminimum wage.
  • Equal minimum wage rates for tipped and non-tipped workers result in smaller wage gaps for women overall and lower poverty rates for tipped workers.(5)

1 Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 2012. Tipped Over The Edge: Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry.
2 Economic Policy Institute, 2014. Low Wages and Few Benefits Mean Many Restaurant Workers Can’t Make Ends Meet.
3 National Restaurant Association, 2014. 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast.
4 National Employment Law Project Policy Brief, 2014.
5 National Women’s Law Center. 2014. States with Equal Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers Have Smaller Wage Gaps for Women Overall and Lower Poverty Rates for Tipped Workers.



Women and the minimum wage

Minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania—mostly women—cannot support themselves and their families onearnings of just $7.25 per hour, or the tipped minimum cash wage of $2.83 per hour. Raise the Wage PA and the PA Campaign for Women’s Health support proposed legislation that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, raise the tipped minimum wage to at least 70 percent of the minimum wage, index these wages to keep up with inflation, and increase penalties for employers who fail to pay workers the wages they are due. Increasing the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage are key steps toward fair pay for women in Pennsylvania.


• Women are nearly three-quarters of minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania—a higher share than all but two other states.(9) Women are also nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s tipped workers.
• Raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour or more would boost pay for over 1.2 million workers, most of them women,(10) and help close the wage gap.
• Of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage increased to at least $10.10 per hour, roughly two-thirds or more are at least 25 years old, and nearly one-quarter are parents.(11)

Minimum wage workers and tipped workers in Pennsylvania need a raise.

• A Pennsylvania woman working full time at minimum wage earns just $14,500 annually, more than $4,500 below the official U.S. poverty line for a mother with two children.(1)
• Pennsylvania is in the minority of states nationwide —and one of only two in the Northeast—with a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour,(2) the lowest level permitted under federal law.
• Pennsylvania’s $2.83 hourly minimum wage for tipped workers is unchanged since 1998 and just 70 cents higher than the federal minimum of $2.13 per hour.  Although obligated to ensure their tipped
employees receive at least the regular minimum wage, many employers fail to do so.(3)
• Nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s tipped workers are women.(4) Over 18 percent of Pennsylvania’s female tipped workers live in poverty, more than double the rate for working women overall. Almost one-quarter of female servers and bartenders in Pennsylvania live in poverty.(5)
• Workers relying on variable tips from customers— rather than set wages from their employer—for the bulk of their income may be more vulnerable to sexual harassment. A recent study from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that
female tipped workers in states with a $2.13 tipped minimum wage are more likely to experience sexual harassment than their counterparts in states where employers are required to pay the regular minimum
wage before tips.(6)

Raising the minimum wage would help close
the wage gap.

• Since women are the majority of Pennsylvania’s minimum wage workers, increasing the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage would help close the wage gap.(12) Pennsylvania women overall
working full time, year round are typically paid only 76 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts,(13) and the gap is even wider for women of color: Black women working full time, year round make only 69 cents, and Hispanic women only 55
cents, for every dollar paid to their white,
non-Hispanic male counterparts.(14)
• The average wage gap in states with a minimum wage at or above $8.00 is 22 percent smaller than the average wage gap in states with a $7.25 minimum wage.(15)

Raising the minimum wage and the tipped
minimum wage would boost wages for hundreds
of thousands of working women in Pennsylvania,
helping them support themselves and their

• The Keystone Research Center estimates that if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour by 2016, over 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers would get a
raise. Of the total affected workers, about 742,000 (59 percent) are women.(7)
• Of the Pennsylvania workers who would benefit from a $10.10 minimum wage in 2016, 296,000 (23 percent) are parents; an estimated 530,000 children live with a parent who would get a raise.(8)

Raising the minimum wage would reduce poverty
and strengthen the economy in Pennsylvania.

• Increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would boost annual full-time earnings by $5,700 to
$20,200, enough to pull a family of three just above the poverty line.(16) Raising the tipped minimum wage to at least 70 percent of a $10.10 minimum wage—or ideally,
eliminating it altogether—would provide a more stable and adequate base income for tipped workers.
• Raising the minimum wage can benefit communities and the broader economy, as workers spend their higher earnings at local businesses.(17) Research indicates that
following a $1 increase to the minimum wage, low-wage worker households spent an additional $2,800 the following year.(18) Higher wages can also benefit employers
by reducing turnover and increasing worker effort.(19)











Raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, and raising the tipped minimum wage to at least 70 percent of
the minimum wage, are important steps toward fairer pay—but more needs to be done to provide real economic stability
for Pennsylvania’s hardworking women and their families.



1 U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds for 2014, (last visited Apr. 23, 2015). The poverty line in
2014 for a mother and two children is $19,073. Throughout this analysis NWLC calculations regarding full-time earnings assume 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year.
2 See NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State (May 2015), available at
3 See, e.g., Sylvia A. Allegretto & David Cooper, Econ. Policy Inst. (EPI) & Ctr. on Wage & Employment Dynamics, Univ. of Ca., Berkeley, Twenty-Three Years and Still
Waiting for Change, at 17-18 (2014), available at
4 NWLC calculations based on American Community Survey (ACS) 2008-2012 five-year averages using Steven Ruggles et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series:
Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010. Figures are for employed workers. NWLC defines tipped workers as all workers in a
set of predominately tipped occupations identified in Allegretto & Cooper, supra note 3, at 20, 23.
5 Id.
6 Restaurant Opportunities Ctr. United & Forward Together, et al., The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry, at 14-16 (Oct. 2014), available at
7 David Cooper, EPI, & Mark Price, Keystone Research Ctr., Falling Short: The Impact of Raising the Minimum Wage in PA to $8.75 vs. $10.10 (Feb. 2015), available at
8 Id.
9 See NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State, supra note 2. The share of minimum wage workers who are women is higher than
Pennsylvania only in Louisiana and Arkansas.
10 See Keystone Research Ctr., Characteristics of Pennsylvania workers who would be affected by increasing the minimum wage to $8.75, $10.10, $12 and $15 per hour
(May 2015), available at
11 Id.
12 A higher minimum wage generally would narrow the wage distribution, effectively narrowing the wage gap. See Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, Institutional
Changes and Rising Inequality, 11 J. Econ. Perspectives 75, 78 (1997), available at
See also Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, Gender Differences in Pay, 14 J. Econ. Perspectives 75, 93 (2000), available at
13 NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State, supra note 2.
14 Id.
15 Julie Vogtman & Katherine Gallagher Robbins, NWLC, Higher State Minimum Wages Promote Fair Pay for Women (May 2015), available at Figures are for 2013.
16 See U.S. Census Bureau, supra note 1.
17 See generally T. William Lester et al., Ctr. for Amer. Progress, Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help, Not Hurt, Our Economy (Dec. 2013), available at See also John Schmitt,
Ctr. for Econ. & Policy Research, Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? (Feb. 2013), available at (reviewing research demonstrating that minimum
wage increases historically do not cause job loss, even during periods of recession).
18 Daniel Aaronson, Sumit Agarwal & Eric French, Fed. Reserve Bank of Chicago, The Spending and Debt Responses to Minimum Wage Increases, at 10 (Rev. Feb. 2011),
available at

National Women’s Law Center

Women’s Law Project
Philadelphia: 215.928.9801/
Pittsburgh: 312.281.2882/

Raise the Wage PA

Residents of Northeast PA hold event outside Senator Lisa Baker’s office

On Wednesday, October 7th, members of the Raise the Wage PA coalition who live in Senator Lisa Baker’s district held an event outside of her office. The event was focused on the fact that Senator Baker, who chairs the Labor & Industry committee, has been stonewalling a raise in PA’s minimum wage by refusing to report a bill out of her committee. Bills to raise the minimum wage have been in her committee since January.

Minimum Wage Supporters March on the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association

On Thursday, July 2nd, Raise the Wage PA held a rally in Harrisburg to raise the minimum wage. We joined 60 PA residents who had been occupying the Capitol all week to demand a fair state budget. Together, we marched to the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association to demand that they stop fighting against a fair minimum wage for Pennsylvania’s workers.