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June 8, 2015 – By Madison Russ
The Raise the Minimum Wage PA coalition delivered a petition with over 10,000 signatures to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman’s office this afternoon.
The petition calls for lawmakers to move a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
According to the coalition, public opinion polls say 66 percent of the state’s population supports raising the minimum wage. Over 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers would see a raise if the legislation is passed.
“We do understand that raising the minimum wage is something that is of interest to a lot of people in the state––on both sides (of the issue),” said Jennifer Kocher, communication director for Corman, a Centre County Republican.”All workers should be able to live with dignity”- Donald Cooper of One Pittsburgh.
She noted that hearings on the bill have stirred a lot of discussion amongst legislators.
“We’re hoping to move forward with that to get some of those questions answered,” said Kocher.
Advocates from across the the state voiced their concerns in front of Corman’s office, who was not present, before delivering the signatures.
Sam Jones, from Restaurant Opportunity Center, called for “one fair wage” for all tipped workers who he says haven’t had a mandated increase in pay in over 20 years.
“18 percent of tipped workers live in poverty as oppose to 8 percent of all workers overall,” said Jones. “70 percent of tipped workers are women and because the tip minimum wage is so low, they face sexual harassment in order to get those tips to make their living.”
About 56 percent of minimum wage workers who would see a boost in wages would be women, and nearly 25 percent have children to provide for, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis of similar minimum wage proposals.
“All workers should be able to live with dignity,” said Donald Cooper, from One Pittsburgh. Cooper noted that the current state minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, cannot sustain a family.
“We need some help from our legislators, we need for them to do the right thing,” said Cooper. “They should be worrying about people over profits.”