Essential Pittsburgh: The Local 'Fight for 15'

Apr 14, 2015

On Wednesday, April 15th, low-wage workers around the country are going on strike. They’re coming together to demand the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour. We’re previewing the rally taking place here in Pittsburgh with Rev. Richard Freeman, President of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, and fast food worker Ashona Osborne. 

Rev. Freeman explains the rally and the involvement of PIIN by saying:

 "Central to the rally is -- rooted in our moral thought -- that everybody who works 40 hours a week should be able to sustain their families. ... I think the problem is a moral problem. Ergo, that's why the Pennsylvania Inferfaith Impact Network and our congregations are engaged." -- Rev. Richard Freeman

Asked to explain the difficulties of living on the current minimum wage, Osborne explains:

"7.25 is just chump change. I have to decide which bill is more important that week and let the other one slip until my next paycheck. ... That's either: do I pay rent off this paycheck, or do I go food shopping? Do I get my baby clothes or do I pay my light bill? And it shouldn't be like that." -- Ashona Osborne

Also in the program, Robert Morris University professor Brian O'Roark offers his assessment of how the enactment of a $15 minimum wage would impact workers, employers and the economy, and Post-Gazette reporter Len Barcousky describes how, 150 years ago today, the first presidential assassination threw the nation, and its major media outlets, for an unprecedented loop. 

How Realistic is a $15 Minimum Wage? (begins at 0:00)

A rally in support of raising the minimum wage will be taking place on April 15th around the world. Here in Pittsburgh an event will be held on the corner of Forbes and Bigelow. While everyone should be fairly compensated for work performed, is a $15 minimum wage realistic? How could it impact employees and our economy? We’re posing those questions to contributor Brian O’Roark , professor of economics at Robert Morris University.

Pittsburgh Fight for $15 Rally (begins at 12:58)

On Wednesday, April 15th, low-wage workers around the country are going on strike. They’re coming together to demand the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour. We’re previewing the rally taking place here in Pittsburgh with Rev. Richard Freeman, President of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, and fast food worker Ashona Osborne. 

150 Years Ago Today: President Lincoln Shot in Ford's Theater (begins at 31:21)

We're marking the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln by looking at the news cycle following his death. Post-Gazette reporter Len Barcousky joins us to talk about how the newspapers of the day covered the event, the numerous mistakes that were made, and how Pittsburgh mourned the first murder of a U.S. president.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here.