With Bipartisan Support, Sen. Tartaglione Says She Will Use Discharge Resolution to Force Vote on $10.10 Minimum Wage Bill
HARRISBURG, Sept. 30, 2015 – Pennsylvania’s leading fighter for increasing the minimum wage today said she will introduce a discharge petition to force the state Senate to vote on her bill to finally increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione said her Senate Bill 195 has been in committee long enough and it’s clear that it will not be considered, despite overwhelming support for the increase.
“Two-hundred-and-forty-five days ago – my proposal to finally give a raise to the lowest paid of Pennsylvania’s workers – minimum wage earners – was referred to the Senate Labor and Industry Committee,” Tartaglione said during a news conference today with fellow Democratic senators, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), and staunch minimum wage advocates from the Sierra Club and Raise The Wage PA.
“I am introducing a discharge resolution today to get the Senate to vote on what has long been an unfair situation – and is becoming dire for those who are only earning $7.25 an hour.
“Every day there is a story about a city or state that has either voted to approve raising the minimum wage or is strongly considering an increase.
“Minimum wage efforts have become so successful that – in many cities – $10.10 is now cheap,” Tartaglione said. “But $10.10 is the number that Pennsylvania lawmakers need to approve.”
Of the Northeast U.S. states with a minimum wage, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25 is the lowest paid to hourly workers.
Maryland’s minimum wage is $8.25 and is set to increase in stages to $10.10 by July 2018. New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.38 but it is now indexed to the Consumer Price Index. New York’s base hourly rate is $8.75 and is going to $9 at the end of this year, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting for a $15 minimum. Ohio is paying $8.10 an hour and will pay more when the CPI is adjusted. West Virginia’s $8 minimum wage is set to hit $8.75 after Christmas. Finally, Delaware is paying $8.25.
In total, 29 states and Washington D.C. pay more than the Pennsylvania/federal minimum of $7.25.
Tartaglione noted opposition to raising the minimum wage, but said their claims are as trite and historically inaccurate as they have always been.
“What the naysayers contend about higher minimum wage rates are the same things that were said when FDR proposed the first minimum wage of 25-cents: ‘Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day … tell you … that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry’,” Tartaglione said.
“It’s time to help Pennsylvania workers get a raise. It’s time that the Senate vote now on my proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10, so they are getting my discharge resolution to get this done,” she said.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman Vincent Hughes, Sens. Art Haywood, John Sabatina, Larry Farnese, Sean Wiley, Rep. DiGirolamo, and United Food & Commercial Workers 1776’s John Meyerson joined Sen. Tartaglione at today’s press conference.