Pa. Dept. of Labor and Industry emphasizing importance of minimum wage increase

Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Department of Labor and Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier and Senator Nikil Saval (D – Philadelphia) are calling on the Pa. legislature to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour in order to reach the $15 an hour goal.

Berrier and Saval were also joined by a home health aide from Westmoreland County, and a Giant Eagle employee, to show that people of all services deserve a livable wage and that it affects more than just the young population. They say about 300,000 of these workers affected are over 40 years old.

“While we so often hear minimum wage workers portrayed as ‘teenage burger flippers,’ the reality is more than a quarter of the Pennsylvanians who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour are over age 40,” Acting Secretary Berrier said. “Despite years of experience, these Pennsylvanians often struggle to afford necessities like food and housing. It’s well past time that we pay all hardworking Pennsylvanians a fair, livable wage.”

Gov. Wolf proposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027, which he says will better benefit working families to raise incomes for more than 1.1 million workers, and at $4.4 billion to the Pa. economy. But he says starting at $12 will provide the best path forward.

“In a country as rich as the United States, that people work full time and still cannot afford to meet their basic needs is reprehensible,” said Sen. Saval. “We must increase the minimum wage and allow working people the means to care for themselves and their families. Workers deserve jobs that will treat them with dignity and respect, and this starts, at the very least, by paying them wages that are truly livable.”

“The minimum wage affects everyone, not just younger workers,” Voices of Westmoreland Member Sandy Brozik-Zilen said. “We need to raise the wage so that everyone in our community can thrive and help our communities in Westmoreland County start to grow again.”

A Franklin & Marshall poll showed 67% of registered Pa. voters support the governor’s proposal. Eight states are also striving to increase the minimum wage, including those of Republican majority, like Florida.

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