HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The biggest corporations are making more money than ever before and quite a few of them do that right here in Pennsylvania.
But are those record profits finding their way into the paychecks of Pennsylvania workers? abc27 looked into it.
“A living wage based on studies of the cost of the components of a bare-bones family budget even for a single adult in the Midstate is about $16 an hour,” said Stephen Herzenberg, an Economist and the Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center.
Herzenberg said one in every four Pennsylvanians don’t make that much.
For the typical family of four, Herzenberg said each adult in the household needs to make about $23 an hour just to get by, and roughly half of Pennsylvania families don’t make that much.
“Those statistics on a living wage make it very clear that many working families are still struggling to get buy in the richest country in the world,” said Herzenberg.
However, he said while it may seem like the companies would have the upper hand, the power lies with the majority, not the 1%.
“Right now, workers individually and collectively have more power in the job market than they had in a long time,” said Herzenberg.
He said we are watching this play out in real time.
“Well, we’re here for a reason and we want our voices heard,” said Victor J. Martinez, a local Mack Truck Employee who was on strike.
Herzenberg said those voices are starting to break through.
“Just in the last couple of days The United Auto Workers achieved by far in a way the best settlement they got in collective bargaining since the agreements in the early 1980’s,” he said.
Herzenberg said it’s both well-deserved and proof that power lies with the people that make these companies go even when the CEOs are cashing gigantic paychecks.
“It used to be CEO pay compared to average worker pay was like 25 to 1 in the mid 60’s which is still a lot, it’s not like 300 to 1 like it is now,” said Herzenberg.
But he said it just adds an ingredient to bring things back to what he calls shared prosperity, “You don’t get that unless two ingredients are present. One is people are pissed, we’ve had that for a long time, but the second ingredient is workers must be confident that it could be different.”