The current federal minimum wage $7.25 per hour. A group of Pittsburgh residents marched on the South Side Thursday, urging Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) to support a bill that would raise that to just under $10 over a three year span. The group marched to the congressman’s Southside Works office, where 12 of them had been granted a face-to-face meeting. Before that meeting, Doyle came out to address the crowd.
“I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the bill, federally, to raise the minimum wage,” he said to loud applause. But as of today, One Pittsburgh said, he had not officially signed on as a sponsor. But, he said he supports the effort and added, it’s been a long time coming.
“The last time we had a raise in the federal minimum wage is when we had a Democratic Congress, and we need to get more people in the Congress who want to help the working class in this country, and this is a step in the right direction,” said Doyle.
One Pittsburgh is a coalition of advocacy organizations. Members met with the Congressman for more than half an hour. Spokeswoman Kyndall Mason said raising the minimum wage to $9.80 an hour would benefit those who work hard for little compensation.
“Minimum wage has not kept up with the rate of inflation for the last 30 years. If minimum wage had kept up with inflation, the current minimum wage would be $10.55 an hour. Right now minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and for a family – that puts you in the poverty zone,” she said.
But opponents to mandating a wage increase say such a move would damage the economy by forcing small businesses to let go of workers. A recent report from the Keystone Research Center (KRC), finds the opposite is true. One Pittsburgh’s Mason said economic theory and economic results surrounding minimum wage are different.
“What they’re finding is that the actual increase in minimum wage leads to increased jobs, increased buying power from the community and even small businesses thrive when the minimum wage is increased because everybody in the community has money to spend at their business.”
The KRC report finds raising the minimum wage to $9.80 would benefit more than 28 million U.S. workers and more than 1.1 million Pennsylvania workers. Those making more money would also be most likely to spend it, and support the greater economy. KRC said the increased consumer power would mean more demand for businesses and 100,000 new U.S. jobs over three years.