PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 28, 2018 – State Sen. Christine Tartaglione applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s signing of an executive order today that raises the minimum wage for state employees and contractors to a level matching the provisions of legislation introduced by Tartaglione in the Senate earlier this year. The executive order raises the minimum wage for state employees and contractors to $12 per hour effective July 1, and institutes incremental annual increases that will raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2024. After then, the minimum wage would be tied to annual cost of living adjustments.

Sen. Tartaglione issued the following statement regarding the executive order:

Gov. Wolf’s executive order represents a major step forward for state employees and contractors, and for the cause of fair, family-sustaining wages across the Commonwealth. As we have seen through many recent national events, workers have been under attack by forces that seek to stifle their collective voice and their power to negotiate for decent wages, healthcare plans, pensions and working conditions.

Just yesterday, the United States Supreme Court struck down a 40-year-old precedent allowing public-sector labor unions to fund worker advocacy through fair share fees. And the National Labor Relations Board recently changed its rules to allow employers to strip workers of the right to resolve their grievances in a court of law.

The federal government hasn’t raised the minimum wage nationwide since 2009, and Pennsylvania hasn’t raised its minimum wage in more than a decade. At $7.25 an hour, a full-time worker would make about $15,000 a year. That’s below the federal poverty level for a two-person household. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there isn’t a state in the country where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford to pay rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Conversely, higher wages boost the economy and reduce employee turnover because workers are also consumers. So when they make more money, they tend to spend more and businesses benefit.

That’s why I introduced Senate Bill 1044 earlier this year, so that employers won’t have the option of paying workers less than a living wage. Today, Gov. Wolf’s executive order makes a bold statement that Pennsylvania cares about working families and recognizes the vital role that a vibrant middle class plays in a healthy and sustainable economy.

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