Minimum Wage

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a measure that would require a $15 an hour minimum wage for employees of some contractors.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has introduced legislation to City Council that would require companies contracting with the city to pay their full time employees at least $15 an hour.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Goodwill's Donation Processing Center in Lawrenceville has 29 employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do task-oriented work like sorting donated clothing and scanning books.

Paul Sancya / AP

Pennsylvania's minimum wage hasn't risen from $7.25 per hour since 2013. It's the only state in the region that hasn't seen an increase in three and a half years, and where the minimum wage is still under eight dollars.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

One of the more contentious parts of Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal is a bid to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

It’s currently $7.25—the lowest the federal government allows.

Emma Lee / WHYY

 

Some people go out for dinner and a movie.

But for Heather Huff and her fiancé, Friday nights are for paying the bills.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of service workers, students and families protested outside a McDonald's restaurant on Pittsburgh’s North Side Thursday.

William Boas led the crowd in chants by megaphone. 

He said fast food jobs aren't just for teenagers. 

“This McDonald's right here is open 24 hours a day," Boas said. "We don’t have to be the smartest people in the world to know that it takes adults to run that store. Right now, it’s a Thursday morning. Kids are in school.” 

Flickr user jrgcastro

Josh Malloy, 25, lives in East Liberty with his little brother and said his $12.50 per hour salary makes it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Minimum starting salaries for entry-level positions at UPMC will jump from $11.73 an hour to $15 by 2021, officials announced Tuesday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's minimum wage for tipped workers hasn't gone up in 17 years, but a group of service industry activists came together Thursday to recognize a Garfield bar for eschewing tips and paying its employees a higher base wage of its own accord.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Earlier this week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.15 for workers under the governor’s jurisdiction, and some contractors.

In all, fewer than 500 of the state’s 79,000 workers will be impacted by the order – and those working in the human services sector are excluded altogether.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is raising the minimum wage by nearly $3 an hour, to $10.15, for state government employees and workers on jobs contracted by the state.

The Democrat signed an executive order Monday establishing the new wage minimum. It'll affect a few hundred state employees and a narrow set of state contracts.

Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature hasn't considered Wolf's request to set the minimum at over $10 for everyone. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A committee tasked by city council to look at wages of Pittsburgh's hospital service workers recommended they get a $15 minimum wage during a post-agenda meeting on Tuesday.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

    

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is a national organization that advocates on behalf of restaurant workers, and Pittsburgh is home to one of its chapters. In this episode of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to organizer Jordan Romanus and server Heather Freeman about the change they hope to see in the industry.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council’s Wage Review Committee, spearheaded by Councilman Ricky Burgess, is recommending some of the region’s biggest employers increase their minimum wage.

Liz Reid

 

  Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto signed an executive order Tuesday that will mandate an eventual minimum wage of $15 for employees of the city of Pittsburgh beginning in January 2017.

Flickr user Walter Lim

There are currently five bills in the Pennsylvania state Legislature that propose raising the minimum wage, and the most recently introduced is also the most ambitious, calling for the current minimum wage of $7.25/hour to more than double, to $15/hour.

Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware, Montgomery) last week introduced the “One Fair Wage” bill, for which he is currently seeking co-sponsors. Leach said the bill would do three things.

The minimum wage debate continues on after a study released Wednesday says that 1.2 million workers in Pennsylvania would benefit from a minimum wage increase.  

The study conducted by the left-leaning Keystone Research Center broke down the statistics of who was working for minimum wage in each county. They examined their gender, age, race, education, family income and family demographics.

Essential Pittsburgh: The Local 'Fight for 15'

Apr 14, 2015
pennsylvanianow.org

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. 

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

 The “Fight for $15” will take to the streets of Pittsburgh April 15th.

A small group of fast food workers and Pittsburgh organization heads gathered Tuesday in front of the Northside McDonalds to announce plans to strike for an increased minimum wage.

Lolene Germany, a worker at KFC, said the strike will call for fair treatment in the workplace as well as fair wages.

“We wanted to let people know that if you support what we’re doing and you feel like you’re being disrespected at work, wherever you work – at a healthcare, fast food, retail – just come out and fight with us,” Germany said. “And let them know that you’re going to get your respect and you’re going get what you deserve.”

401(K) 2012/Flickr

  Employees working at small businesses within Pittsburgh could see a raise in their paychecks.

City Councilman Corey O’Connor introduced legislation Tuesday he hopes incentivizes small businesses (15 to 250 employees) to raise their wage for full-time employees – currently $7.25 – to $10.10 per hour.  For restaurants employees who receive tips, the legislation aims to increase their minimum wage from $2.83 to $3.93 per hour.

Julian Routh / WESA

More than 100 fast food workers and supporters marched along Allegheny Avenue in the North Side Thursday morning to fight for a minimum wage hike.

The protest started at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and ended at the Wendy’s restaurant two blocks away, where the workers marched through the drive-through. The supporters also entered the doors of the McDonald’s next door to yell chants including, “We can’t survive on $7.25.”

To earn a living wage for a family of four while only making minimum wage, the two adults in that family would each have to work 68 hours a week. Another option, according to state Rep. Dom Costa (D-Allegheny), is to raise the current $7.25 minimum wage so that families in Pennsylvania could buy groceries and live comfortably while earning minimum wage.

Micheal Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The nationwide fight over a higher minimum wage for fast food workers landed eight Pittsburgh-area protesters behind bars Thursday.

More than 100 workers and supporters hit the streets in front of the McDonald’s restaurant in Wilkinsburg demanding wages of $15 an hour and union representation.

Local fast food workers have been holding rallies, pickets and job walk offs for months, but Thursday’s event was supported by similar rallies planned in nearly 150 U.S. cities.

Thousands of Disabled Workers in PA Paid Far Below Minimum Wage

Jul 27, 2014
Martha Rial / PublicSource

About 13,000 disabled Pennsylvanians are earning an average of $2.40 an hour in a legal use of subminimum wages.

The majority work almost solely with other disabled people, in a world tucked away from the mainstream labor market.

They’re given menial tasks, like folding boxes, shredding paper or packing mail inserts.

Since 1986, there has been no limit to how little they can be paid. And even the federal government, which issues the certificates that allow employers to pay subminimum wages, doesn’t track the hourly earnings of the workers.

Is It Time to Raise the Minimum Wage?

Jul 22, 2014
Olivia Becker / Vice News

Seattle has raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour, CEO's wages continue to increase, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is recommending that the city minimum wage be increased to $13 an hour. On the Federal level, President Obama hopes to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

While some people are on Emanuel and Obama's side and believe that increasing the minimum wage will help people out of poverty, critics feel the minimum wage should be eliminated altogether.

Brian O’ Roark, a professor of economics at Robert Morris University weighs the pros and cons of the minimum wage decision.

LetsGoDine.com

Last Wednesday, the US Senate voted down a proposal by President Obama to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

Many contend that such a steep raise would cripple job growth and small businesses. Others say more money and spending power for workers would be a boost for the economy overall. 

Art Helms, a Wendy’s employee and member of One Pittsburgh has been organizing for fair pay and a union for fast food workers in Pittsburgh.

He said he makes less than $10 per hour and has worked for Wendy’s for 27 years. 

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over the next two years.

Under Senate Bill 1300, the minimum wage would jump to $8.20 an hour beginning July 1, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, wages would increase again to $9.50 an hour and then $10.10 an hour one year later.

The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), said after that, it will be up to local governments to set the wage.

It’s not uncommon for individual municipalities to set a minimum wage that is higher than the state- and federally-mandated rate. As of Jan. 1, San Franciscans are making at least $10.55 an hour, compared to the California minimum wage of $8.

Now, state representative Seth Grove (R-York) wants to make that kind of municipal legislation illegal in Pennsylvania.

Recent rumblings over the Pennsylvania minimum wage may foreshadow a flashpoint in the gubernatorial election.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, has expressed uneasiness with the idea of raising the state’s 7.25 dollar wage.

"I’m not going to go into details right now," he said. "I’ve made a statement on that before and I’m going to stay by that."

He told the Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre he’s concerned raising the wage may put a damper on Pennsylvania’s economy.

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