Living wage charter change passes City Council, needs Nutter signature to go on ballot

 (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

(Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

Philadelphia voters could get to decide whether to enact a “living wage law” for city contractors and sub-contractors. 

Philadelphia now requires that city contractors pay their employees $10.88 an hour, or 150 percent of the federal minimum wage. The proposed change to the City Charter is designed to mandate a living wage for city subcontractors.

If approved, it would raise baggage handler Brian Thompson’s pay at Philadelphia International Airport.

“I make $7.25 an hour on a good biweekly pay period,” Thompson said. “When I’m given the opportunity to work a full 80 hours, I take home about $449. That is not enough to live on, it is just a struggle to pay my bills and get by.”

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Some airport contractors have said minimum wage is enough since Thompson and others are allowed to receive tips.   But Thompson and other workers say tips are sometimes few and far between.

Now that City Council has approved the charter change, it will require Mayor Michael Nutter’s signature to be put on the ballot.

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