Tartaglione Heralds Maryland’s Approval of Minimum Wage Hike; Congress’ Vote to Extend Jobless Benefits
HARRISBURG, April 8, 2014 – With another state voting overwhelmingly to increase its minimum wage, state Sen. Christine Tartaglione said today that Republicans and Gov. Tom Corbett are in danger of telling tens of thousands of hardworking Pennsylvanians they aren’t worth the same consideration.
Sen. Tartaglione said she is also pleased to see that the U.S. Senate approved a bill to restore extended benefits to the country’s long-time unemployed.
“Maryland has now joined New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Delaware as our neighbors who show they care about the people who must work minimum wage jobs. Pennsylvania’s continued inaction on this front becomes more pathetic by the vote,” Tartaglione said.
“Make no mistake about why this is not happening in the commonwealth. The only reason why Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is not moving up with every other state’s is Republican leadership and Gov. Tom Corbett,” she said.
Tartaglione introduced a new bill, Senate Bill 1300, last month to incrementally increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016. Maryland voted yesterday to make its base hourly rate the same $10.10 by 2018. Her proposal to increase PA’s tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, Senate Bill 1099, is also waiting for consideration.
“What is more outrageous,” Tartaglione said,” is there are other proposals before the General Assembly that Republican leaders and Gov. Corbett could consider. But they have proven by their silence that this is more about them and less about the people they represent.”
Since proposing SB 1300 March 18, a new coalition, “Raise the Wage PA,” has formed; Connecticut increased its minimum to $10.10; AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka began to actively push for the nationwide adoption of the $10.10 hourly rate, and now Maryland has approved an increase in its minimum.
In addition to the higher base hourly wage, Tartaglione’s SB 1300 would increase the fines and penalties for companies that violate the new law, provide for increased enforcement of the state’s minimum wage act, and it would allow municipalities that have a higher cost-of-living to consider a higher minimum wage.
Tartaglione also noted the U.S. Senate’s vote to extend federal jobless benefits through May 31.
“This bill faces an uncertain future in the U.S. House, but the Senate’s vote is a huge step forward for about 2 million workers who have been devastated by the recession and need this assistance to help them get back on their feet,” Sen. Tartaglione said.