Tartaglione Joins Working Families in Labor Day Celebration
HARRISBURG, Sept. 3, 2013 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione joined thousands of local workers and their families yesterday in a rain-drenched parade held to celebrate Labor Day and to show solid support for working families.
Rather than detract from the event, Tartaglione said, the morning downpour served as a fitting symbol for the day.
“A lot of these people I’ve known for more than 20 years,” she said as she rolled her wheelchair along South Columbus Boulevard. “They don’t want fair–weather friends. They want to know that you’ll be there no matter what. It was great to see entire families, even toddlers, squeezed together under one umbrella, marching in the rain for the dignity of hard work.”
Before the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO’s 26th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade, Tartaglione served ice cream outside the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 Union Hall to draw attention to Pennsylvania’s stagnant minimum wage, which has not changed since her 2006 legislation raised it in steps to $7.15 by 2007.
“Allowing the minimum wage to be eroded by inflation has pushed thousands of working families into poverty and added pressure on social services,” she said. “A fairly adjusted minimum wage lowers the poverty rate and saves money for every taxpayer in Pennsylvania.”
In every legislative session since 2007, Tartaglione has introduced legislation that would apply an inflation index to Pennsylvania’s minimum wage – as ten states have already done. With that bill stuck in committee, she added a bill that would simply raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour.
“Ten years ago we started out with heavy opposition and we were able to make the case for fair wages,” she said. “It’s going to happen again.”
Despite challenges on many fronts, organized labor is determined to stand up against the legislative majority and Gov. Tom Corbett in their efforts to resolve budget difficulties on the backs of working families, Tartaglione said.
“They try to tell you that a Philadelphia teacher makes too much money but Shell Oil needs government help,” she said. “They’re not even trying to make sense anymore.”
Tartaglione said she is working on legislation that would add tipped workers to the minimum wage adjustments and will be discussing a legislative strategy on her effort at a news conference Sept. 17.