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Sen. Tartaglione pushes for vote on $10.10 minimum wage

Philadelphia lawmaker submits discharge petition

State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione is done waiting around.

The Philadelphia Democrat on Wednesday submitted a discharge petition, seeking to force the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on her legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

“Pennsylvania is becoming third world while our neighbors and many other states move to raise hourly compensation to more appropriate levels,” Tartaglione said.

Of the Northeast U.S. states with a minimum wage, Pennsylvania’s base hourly rate of $7.25 — the federal minimum — is the lowest paid to hourly workers, Tartaglione pointed out.

Her Senate Bill 195 has more than a dozen co-sponsors, including midstate Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin).

But the legislation has remained in the Senate Labor & Industry Committee, of which Tartaglione is minority chairwoman, since Jan. 28. She threatened to seek a discharge petition during a Sept. 30 press conference, then relented after Republican lawmakers said they would work with her on the bill.

Now, it seems, Tartaglione’s patience has run out, saying that “there has been no alternative solution, and there has been little movement since then.”

Efforts to reach GOP committee members were not immediately successful.

Tartaglione’s petition gives the Senate 10 legislative days to consider her request.

Neighbors’ rates

According to Tartaglione’s office, 29 states and Washington, D.C., pay more than the Pennsylvania/federal minimum of $7.25.

Among the commonwealth’s neighbors, here are the minimum wage rates:

• Maryland: $8.25, set to increase in stages to $10.10 by July 2018.

• New Jersey: $8.38, indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

• New York: Base hourly rate is $8.75, going to $9 at the end of this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting for a $15 minimum.

• Ohio: $8.10 an hour, to increase when the CPI is adjusted.

• West Virginia: $8, but set to hit $8.75 after Christmas.

• Delaware: $8.25.

“Do not let calamity-howling executives who make $10,000 a day tell you that a wage of $404 a week is going to hurt their bottom lines. It’s time to help Pennsylvania workers get a raise,” Tartaglione said.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].