Living wage bill passes Philadelphia City Council committee

Listen

Philadelphia City Council is moving forward with a plan to increase the minimum wage of those working for city contractors and subcontractors. 

 

 

The proposed change to Philadelphia’s City Charter would mandate a minimum wage of at least 150 percent of the federal minimum for all city-funded contracts and subcontractors.

But that would pose a problem for nonprofit community organizations that get contracts for neighborhood improvement work, said Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison.

“This program employs about 80 community residents seasonally giving them a direct role in keeping neighborhoods clean and safe,” he said. “Requiring contractors to ensure that workers make at least $10.88 an hour would specifically adversely affect this program by increasing the costs beyond [Office of Housing and Community Development] budget constraints.”

The city doesn’t have an exact figure about how many people would be affected. Certain workers at Philadelphia International Airport, such as wheelchair attendant Onetha McKnight, would get a raise if the measure is adopted.

“I have been a wheelchair attendant for six years at the airport,” she said Wednesday. “I have never received a raise. I started working at $7 an hour and, six years later, I am still making $7 an hour. I receive tips, but tips are not guaranteed. There are some days when I only receive $1 in tips.”

The City Council’s law and government committee approved the bill. It’s next step would be a vote by the entire council.

 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.