The Minimum Wage is going up one more time, but employment is one step ahead of it.

Cross-posted from the PUP Blog

Rev. Randy Barge of Calvin Presbyterian Church on June 29th, Minimum Wage increase

Where's the National Federation of Independent Businesses now? Pennsylvania has dropped half a point off it's unemployment rate since the minimum wage went up for the first time in January. Our Unemployment rate in December (which would have included Christmas season seasonal workers, incidentally) was 4.7%. The latest figures are showing it at 4.1%. What happened to the drop in employment that the Minimum Wage naysayers predicted?

This afternoon, the Raise the Minimum Wage Coalition gathered to mark the latest increase in the Minimum Wage, which will rise to $7.15 per hour here in PA on Sunday.


Leaders from Working America, UFCW, SEIU, PUP, AFSCME and others gathered at the Gallery today to let workers no that the minimum wage is going up once more, that they should hold their bosses accountable to the raise and that if they don't like working without health benefits, we're working on that, too.

PUP volunteers hand out fliers that let workers know that they can expect to earn at least $7.15 by Sunday

$7.15 July 1 Is Not Enough, Nor Is $7.25 in 2009

I am glad that the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and it supporters are publicizing the fact the minimum wage hits $7.15 July 1 for all employers of 11 or more people. For employers of 10 or less people, the Pennsylvania minimum wage will hit $6.65 on July 1, and hit $7.15 on July 1, 2008. The generally unused and unusable training wage for the first 60 days of new teenage workers will hit $5.85 on July 1, 2007, $6.65 on July 1, 2008, and $7.25 along with the minimum wage for everyone on July 25, 2009.

I am proud to have led the efforts in the House to raise the minimum wage by 113% over the past 20 years. I firmly believe, however, that the achievements to date are not adequate to get minimum wage workers with two or more dependents out of poverty, or to meet college tuition costs for self-supporting students paying for their own education.

I have introduced legislation raising the minimum wage to $8.15 in 2008, $8.75 in 2009, and $9.35 in 2010, with cost of living adjustments thereafter.

Raising the minimum wage is not the be all and end all of public policy to help low-income citizens, but it is an important component of such policy. The general result of minimum wage increases, contrary to traditional economic theory, is that employment goes up because job vacancies become more appealing to low wage workers.

Going to work involves costs of transportation, meals, clothes and time; the higher the salary the more likely people are to find the job worthy of the sacrifices that work requires.

Seven states plus the District of Columbia are scheduled to reach or pass $8 an hour within two years already: Washington, Oregon, Vermont, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, and The District of Columbia. Other states already above Pennsylvania's minimum wage when the federal minimum wage takes effect include Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, and New Mexico. Within the next two years, Ohio and Florida will pass Pennsylvania as well.

The national movement behind raising the minimum wage still remains active. There are serious efforts to raise the minimum wages in Alaska, New York and New Jersey--now tied with Pennsylvania at $7.15, for instance.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, there will be the labor and community organizational efforts needed to create a Pennsylvania minimum wage that will lift people out of poverty and make college attendance more affordable.

minimum wage issues

Hi Mark:

As usual-- a great post. I always learn from reading your posts and applaud you on the issues.

Regarding minimum wage--- half in jest and the other half out of frustration--- I've always thought that perhaps we should tie legislative pay raises to correspondingly equivalent raises in the minimum wage.

So that if the legislature wants to enact a 10 percent raise in their salary--- then the minumum wage would go up the same percentage.

You mention that the minimum wage has gone up 113% over the last twenty years--- out of curiosity--- what percentage raise has occurred over the last twenty years in legislators pay?


Legislative Salaries Up Less Than Minimum Wage, But ....

Since 1987, when I first became active in minimum wage issues, the minimum wage has gone up 113% and legislative salaries have gone up 110%.

I seek to further raise the minimum wage so that children of minimum wage workers will be able to have clothes and food and shoes and educational supplies just like children of middle class workers do.

I seek to raise the minimum wage so that people working their way through college can get through college in a reasonable amount of time without incurring crippling debt that scars the remainder of their life.

I would hope that at least some members of the young philly politics community can support future minimum wage increases out of a strong sense that we will not encourage work when workers live in poverty, and that a decent society cares for the welfare of all its members.

Fighting poverty is an extremely difficult task, but an extremely important one. The United States has more poverty than many industrialized countries do, despite an ever growing amount of wealth concentrated among the top 1% of income earning citizens.

The fundamental question for public officials and political activists and observers alike is who we are here for, and what outcomes we would like to see. Those who wish to see a fairer economomy, an economy which offers hope to those who need it and a sense of economic justice for those who lack it, should support future minimum wage increases on the basis of the considerable merits of having a society in which no full time workers live in poverty and people in poverty are drawn to worthwhile and fully legal work as a way out of poverty.

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