Pennsylvania is an incredibly diverse state. With large urban communities and vast rural areas, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have many divergent needs. Now more than ever, all workers need a wage that allows them not only to make ends meet where they live, but allows them to prepare for unexpected or emergency expenses. The needs of communities across the Commonwealth differ, and each community deserves – and has a moral obligation– to have their constituents earn a living wage.
Currently, we are experiencing a pandemic of epic proportion, resulting in lives lost and jobs destroyed. Local government action has been crucial in responding to this crisis and is in the most proximate position to meet the needs of people where they live, in their cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas. This is most particularly true for communities of color which experience higher levels of poverty and neglect. It is now even more obvious that local governments should also take on the responsibility to set an appropriate local minimum wage.
Our state minimum wage – stuck at $7.25 per hour for more than a decade – has proven to be wholly inadequate to sustain working people living anywhere in the Commonwealth.
According to the Department of Labor and Industry, over 100,000 workers in Pennsylvania earned less than $12.00 an hour. If we want to improve the lives of working families in Pennsylvania and reflect the values of a true Commonwealth, we must allow local governments to address the needs of their constituents and provide a wage that reflects the economic conditions of their unique communities.
It’s time to stop tying the hands of our local municipalities that are trying to do what’s right by their constituents. It’s time to let municipalities set their own minimum wage.
We at Wage Local PA believe that all workers deserve a living wage that meets their needs
regardless of where they live. Together, we can advocate for municipalities to make determinations on how employment requirements, such as minimum wage and paid sick leave, are determined.