Nutter decrees ‘living wage’ for some working under Philly contracts

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    Mayor Micahel Nutter signs executive order

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has signed an executive order to mandate a “living wage” for some people working under city contracts.

    The move is similar to a ballot question being put to city voters this month.

    The executive order requires companies with gross receipts of more than $1 million and that receive more than $10,000 under a city contract to pay their workers a minimum of $10.88 an hour. Starting in two weeks, the order will apply to all new contracts.

    The order applies to contractors and first-tier subcontractors, Nutter said.

    “I felt the time had come, and I had to personally take action as I have tried to do so many times before to protect the interest of our vulnerable citizens,” he said. “No person who works for the city or on a city contract should live in poverty either, and we must create ladders of opportunity.”

    Councilman Wilson Goode wrote the proposed change to Philadelphia’s City Charter that demands a living wage for those working under city contracts. He said the increase has been years in the making.

    “Since my original law was enacted in 2005, we’ve raised the wage standard from $5.15 to  $7.72  to $10.88,” he said Tuesday.

    Bishop Dwayne Royster of the group Power said he is optimistic the order will help the working poor, such as wheelchair attendants at Philadelphia International Airport.

    But Royster said he would like the higher wage expanded to include all city contractors, including nonprofits such as the ones that work for the Department of Human Services.

    “We believe within a shadow of a doubt that every contractor and subcontractor in the city of Philadelphia working on contracts for the city of Philadelphia should be obligated to pay the 21st century minimum wage standard, which is 150 percent of the minimum wage plus benefits,” he said.

    Nutter could not immediately say how many workers would see a bigger paycheck because of the executive order — or even if the specific low-wage workers who have been the face of this campaign will get the higher wage.

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