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05/23/2019

L&I Secretary: Pennsylvania Needs $15 Minimum Wage

Legislators and advocates hold statewide day of action to raise the wage

Scranton, PA – As part of a statewide day of action by legislators and advocates to call for a $15 minimum wage, Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today said Pennsylvania needs a $15 minimum wage following his tour of One Point in Scranton

"It's past time that Pennsylvania ensures a fair wage for Pennsylvanians, so that workers stop falling behind," said Oleksiak. "Raising the minimum wage is good for families, reduces costs for public benefits, and strengthens our economy. All our neighboring states have raised the wage and hardworking Pennsylvanians deserve the same. The legislature must raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage."

Governor Wolf is proposing to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, boosting incomes for nearly two million workers in Pennsylvania. The proposal to raise the wage has been introduced by Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione as SB 12 and Rep. Patty Kim as HB 1215, and is supported by 38 Pennsylvania economists and nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians, according to recent polls.

Key findings from the Keystone Research Center show the workers who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage:

  • 89 percent are age 20 or older (1.8 million);
  • 37 percent are age 40 or older (754,000 workers);
  • 18 percent are age 55 or older (374,000 workers);
  • 23 percent work full-time (1.1 million workers).

Putting more money in the pockets of workers will inject $9.5 billion into local economies and boost consumer spending in their communities. Raising the wage also reduces state costs as 70,000 adults work their way off Medicaid within two years, saving taxpayers over $150 million.

As part of the statewide day of action calling for raising the minimum wage, Oleksiak toured One Point's showroom and warehouse in Scranton. One Point, a business services company, supports raising the minimum wage, and credits paying a living wage for its hourly employees as an essential component to their growth and success.  

"I support raising Pennsylvania's minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Our employees are central to our success," said Pat McMahon, CEO, One Point. "We treat our employees like family, and we hope and expect them to stay with us for 10 years or longer. By paying livable wages, the quality of people who apply for our jobs is better, and our employees can afford to stick with us and grow with the company."

The commonwealth's outdated minimum wage is $7.25, the lowest allowed by federal law. By trailing our neighbors, Pennsylvania workers earn less for the same work than those in West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and all surrounding states.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Penny Ickes or Lindsay Bracale, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov  

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