Feb. 9, activists from all over the state converged in Harrisburg for an afternoon of workshops and direct action to Raise the Wage in Pennsylvania.
One week ago One Pittsburgh joined with 300 activists from all over the commonwealth to launch Raise the Wage PA. After a day of workshops and strategizing we marched to the Capitol with Lt. Governor Mike Stacks to demand an increase for over 200,000 minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania.
Lower-wage industries accounted for 22 percent of job losses during the recession, but 44 percent of employment growth over the past four years. Today, lower-wage industries employ 1.85 million more workers than at the start of the recession. At the same time we continue to see inequality growing here in Pennsylvania. The top 1% of the wealthiest Pennsylvanians captured 125% of the wealth grown in the state over the last three years. The rich are getting richer while the rest of us are barely getting by.
So many people in Harrisburg on the 9th came together to fight back: small business owners, faith leaders, community activists, elected leaders. This coalition is proof that we are already winning. We must remain vigilant and dedicated to raising wages because we know that good jobs make strong communities. We also know that there are people invested in maintaining our low wage economy. Big low wage employers, like McDonalds and Walmart, and their lobbyists from the Chamber of Commerce are going to try their hardest to defeat this bill. They are not going to give up without a fight.
There is a strong piece of legislation in Harrisburg right now that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hr and ensure annual cost of living increases. At the same time Senator Wagner has proposed a lesser bill that would phase in minimal fifty cent increases to the already minimal wage. We can’t let the legislature pass a sub-par bill. Many of the activists in Harrisburg on the 9th felt the same way; which is why they ended the day of planning to go home and meet with their legislators during the week of March 9th. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the fight and make a better future for the commonwealth.
We know that the Minimum Wage is going to be a big part of the PA Budget negotiations this year. Many of us are traveling to Harrisburg on February 26th, joining other activists who want to make sure the Governor understand what our priorities are before he gives his State of the State address on the 3rd. Click here if you would like to be a part of that trip.