Labor & Industry Urges Increase to Minimum Wage to $12 with a pathway to $15

Jennifer BerrierCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier was recently joined by Rep. Patty Kim, Sen. Christine Tartaglione, and Elementary Coffee owner Andrea Grove to call for an increase to Pennsylvania’s outdated minimum wage to $12 an hour with a pathway to $15 by 2027. This increase – the first since 2009 – will benefit working families and local economies and boost the incomes of more than 1.1 million Pennsylvania workers.

“Over the past decade, prices for food, housing, education, childcare, and other critical needs have increased significantly while the minimum wage earned by Pennsylvanians has remained stagnant,” said Acting Secretary Berrier. “While every state surrounding us has recognized this loss of purchasing power and increased their minimum wage, we have continued to fall further behind. Now many Pennsylvanians are facing job loss and have no savings because they were working jobs that paid too little to allow them to set aside money for emergencies. We cannot let this crisis continue – we need to raise our minimum wage now and allow hardworking Pennsylvanians the dignity of providing for themselves.”

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Governor Tom Wolf is proposing to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2027, boosting incomes for nearly 1.1 million workers and put $4.4 billion into the pockets of Pennsylvania workers in the first year. Raising the wage to $12 an hour will inject an additional $116.4 million into Pennsylvania’s economy; an increase to $15 will bolster Pennsylvania’s economy by $320.6 million in 2027.

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

  • 76 percent age 20 or older (850,657 workers);
  • 27 percent age 40 or older (299,715 workers);
  • 13 percent age 55 or older (154,730 workers);
  • 38 percent working fulltime (426,966 workers); and
  • 62 percent women (691,122 workers).

“As the government continues to fail its working class by not raising the minimum wage, perhaps as a community, we can prove to them that raising the wage is as simple as placing value on human lives over products, politics, and class differences,” said Andrea Day, owner of Elementary Coffee in Harrisburg. “Hopefully, all together, we can move forward into a future in which we respect each other’s work and we each can live off of an equitable wage.”

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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 all surrounding states.

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