On July 24th we saw City Council pass a resolution declaring Pittsburgh in favor of raising the minimum wage.
It was exciting to see elected officials standing for the 99%, but we knew that it was only a small step in the fight towards raising the minimum wage. Several bills were since introduced in Congress to raise the minimum wage to nearly $10/hr and to index it to inflation.
Empowered by the victory in July a meeting was set up with Pittsburgh’s representative Mike Doyle to discuss his support of the Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act. That bill would raise the minimum wage to $9.80 an hour by 2014 and tie it to inflation so that the wage could not depreciate over time due to congress’s inaction.
In the last 30 years it had only be raised 3 times and was allowed to be devalued way below it’s level in the late 60’s, the equivalent of $10.55/hr.
The last time it was raised – 2007 – Mike Doyle voted in favor of it, but instead of taking his vote for granted we decided to fulfill our civic duty and meet with him.
So on August 16 approx. 75 of us marched through the South Side to his office, armed with hundreds of petitions signed by the people of Pittsburgh, and studies from EPI and NELP that showed the economic boost this bill would provide.
A dozen people met with Rep. Doyle inside his office to explain the struggles off working on the minimum wage and the positive effects it would have.
According to a recent EPI report up to 1,142,000 Pennsylvanians would be effected by the Miller bill, with an average $754 of pay, and 3900 new jobs created.
Thankfully, Mike Doyle didn’t need convincing. Agreeing to support the bill he understood what raising the minimum wage would mean to western Pennsylvania. After the meeting he spoke outside with the rest of us, who had been collecting even more signatures and spreading the message.
“If you make a living wage you spend that money in the economy,” he said “You help the local small businesses, you help the local grocery store.”
He also stressed the importance of taking the next step and meeting with other politicians in the area and gaining their support. It was a great reminder of the work we need to do to educate and get the support we need to have the Bill voted for.
One big step we can all easily do is sign the petition to show politicians that their constituents want action on this issue. Sign the petition now and we can deliver it to your politician.