Wednesday, September 14, 2005
working families deserve a pay raise, too
our back story is that the pennsylvania state legislature voted themselves a questionable 16% pay increase at 2am on july 7. this action has been universally derided due to the lack of debate on the measure, the lateness of the vote, and its classification as "unvouchered expenses" - which provided a convenient loophole from which legislators could immediately receive these benefits; otherwise they would have remained "forbidden fruits" until the next legislative session.
up until now, the grassroots conservative groups have been much more vocal and organized in their "let's vote the bums out" reaction, while the democrats have been asleep at the wheel.
apart from this article in the inquirer, the coalition to raise pennsylvania's minimum wage had yet to overtly link this vote with the legislature's failure to vote on an increase in the state's minimum wage (still set at $5.15/hour) before adjourning for the summer.
but now, things may be starting to change, as rendell seems to have leaped onto the bandwagon....
Flanked by local labor and political leaders, Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday proposed increasing Pennsylvania's hourly minimum wage to $6.25 in January and $7.15 a year later, with subsequent raises to reflect increases in the cost of living.i feel the tipping point approaching. it's time to organize...
The Democratic governor outlined the proposal at a rally outside the United Steelworkers Building after attending the city's Labor Day parade.
To an audience of labor union members and supporters, the governor noted that nearby states already have taken steps to implement increases.
"Pennsylvania has to join the club," he said, to loud applause.
Rendell, who approved a pay increase in July that state lawmakers voted for themselves, said then that he would push to raise the minimum wage, currently $5.15 an hour.
If lawmakers can get a pay increase, so can the "poorest working Americans in Pennsylvania," Rendell told his listeners yesterday. Statewide, about 254,000 workers would benefit, he said.