HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday urged Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly to address Pennsylvania's minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 per hour for more than a decade.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Wolf called the commonwealth's current minimum wage "embarrassingly low" and pointed out that 25 states have minimum wage increases set to go into effect in 2022.
He called on the General Assembly to pass legislation to increase the commonwealth's minimum wage to $12 per hour.
“Pennsylvania’s food service, retail and social services workers have deserved a minimum wage hike for many years, but today the need is even more urgent," Wolf said. "Millions of Pennsylvanians – many of them the frontline workers we called heroes in the early days of the pandemic – are struggling to support their families on hourly wages under $15.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global economy, and we see that reflected in a very reasonable reluctance of workers to take low-wage jobs in the midst of rising inflation.
“Parents with young children literally cannot afford to work these jobs if the cost of child care eclipses their paycheck. I’m urging the General Assembly to pass legislation that increases Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour and creates a pathway to $15.”
Wolf noted there are proposed bills waiting in both the House and the Senate for action.
Sen. Tina Tartaglione’s S.B. 12 and Rep. Patty Kim’s H.B. 345 would both increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 with a pathway to $15, then implement annual increases tied to the consumer price index, he said.
The bills also eliminate the tipped wage by installing one fair wage for all workers and would create the opportunity for local municipalities to implement their own minimum wages higher than the statewide rate, according to Wolf.
“The Pennsylvania legislature last increased the minimum wage in 2006 when they passed my legislation, Senate Bill 1090,” said Sen. Christine Tartaglione in the press release issued by Wolf. “Since then our legislature has failed to raise the minimum wage and provide a livable wage to our lowest earners.
"This inaction is not just a failure in policy, but a failure in humanity and decency. Pennsylvanians deserve a living wage. We need to join the 25 states that will raise their minimum wage in 2022 and provide a livable wage to our commonwealth.”
According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, 21 states have minimum-wage increases set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Four more states have increases slated for later in the year.
Each of Pennsylvania’s six neighboring states already have minimum wages higher than $7.25 an hour, and several of them are among the 25 states with planned increases for 2022, Wolf said.
On Jan. 1, 2022, he noted, Pennsylvania will be surrounded by states with the following minimum wages: Delaware ($10.50); Maryland ($12.20); New Jersey ($13); New York ($13.20); Ohio ($8.80); and West Virginia ($8.75).
PA AFL-CIO officers, President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder added, “As 2021 passes into 2022, it is unconscionable that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is still $7.25. Since the start of the pandemic, essential workers have been called heroes, even those who receive the lowest pay. Instead of treating those workers like zeroes, it’s time our legislators finally put meaning behind their words. It’s time to raise the minimum wage.’”