By the PA. AFL-CIO
– President Obama has made clear his goal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour – but so far, Tea Party opposition and dis-proven talking points seem to have killed the momentum for this change at the national level, even while the overwhelming majority of Americans support the plan.
Some state lawmakers, however, are not willing to wait for Congress to give a raise to millions of hard-working Americans, and they are taking the issue into their own hands. The National AFL-CIO has supported both national and local efforts to lift workers out of poverty. President Richard Trumka joined the “Give America a Raise” bus tour yesterday, when it stopped in Philadelphia to rally for an increase in PA’s minimum wage. They were joined by State Senator Tartaglione, who has introduced legislation to raise the PA minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Also speaking at the rally were Philadelphia AFL-CIO President Pat Eiding, and minimum wage workers, who shared stories of the economic hardships they endure while trying to survive on poverty wages.
Many recent polls have found an overwhelming majority of Americans, including a large majority of Pennsylvanians, want the minimum wage increased. Several polls have even found a majority of Republicans and a majority of small business owners who favor increasing the minimum wage to as much as $10.10 and tying it to the rate of inflation.
In spite of the widespread support, any such increase in Pennsylvania faces a difficult uphill climb. Republican Governor Tom Corbett has said that he opposes increasing the minimum wage, an issue which is certain to get much more attention in this election year. There are still positive signs out there however. Just this week, Connecticut became the first state to pass a law raising their minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
The “Give America a Raise” bus tour is being organized by American United for Change, and is covering ten states. The tour began on Monday in New England, including a stop in Connecticut, before arriving in Pennsylvania for events on Wednesday and Thursday, including the Philadelphia rally. You can follow the tour online as it continues into the Midwest and on to Washington DC. Photos and information on their stops is online at www.raiseto1010.com.