VIDEO: Rep. Susan Wild Votes to Advance Bill Gradually Increasing the Minimum Wage to $15 by 2024

March 6, 2019
Press Release
Gives opening remarks advocating for the 98,400 workers in the Greater Lehigh Valley who would receive a wage raise

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) voted in the House Committee on Education and Labor to advance the Raise the Wage Act, a proposal that would give 40 million Americans - including 98,400 people in PA-07 – a raise. The Raise the Wage Act would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth, and ensure all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.

 

VIDEO of Wild’s remarks from Committee on Education and Labor.

 

“I am proud to have voted in support of the Raise the Wage Act to raise the minimum wage for the first time in decades,” Wild said. “With corporate profits at an all-time high but wages stagnant, we have a duty to ensure that the low-wage workers who generate this wealth are paid a living wage. This bill is a commitment to giving our workers a chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, to fight the record income and wealth inequality across our country, and to get to work building an economy that delivers for all Americans.”

 

In Pennsylvania’s Seventh District the Raise the Wage Act would give 98,400 workers a raise. The total, aggregate wage increase in district will be $308,414, amounting to an average annual earnings increase of $3,100 for those workers by 2024.

 

The Raise the Wage Act would:

 

  • Gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years to lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate local economies, and restore the value of minimum wage;
  • Index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth to ensure the value of minimum wage does not once again erode over time;
  • Guarantees tipped workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by repealing the subminimum wage for tipped workers, which will ensure consistent, livable pay;
  • Guarantees teen workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by repealing the rarely used subminimum wage for youth workers; and
  • End subminimum wage certificates for individuals with disabilities to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be competitively employed, taxpaying citizens and participate more fully in their communities.

 

To read the bill text of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.

To read the section-by-section of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.

To read a fact sheet on Raise the Wage Act, click here.

 

Transcript of Wild’s full remarks available below.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I am proud to speak in support of the Raise the Wage Act. 

 

The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in the House of Representatives on May 24, 1938 with 314 voting in favor and just 97 opposed. Even after amendment in the Senate House Conference Committee, the House again passed the bill 291-89. The codified purpose—a purpose shared overwhelmingly by both Democrats and Republicans— was to protect workers from substandard wages that were “detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for [their] health, efficiency, and general well-being.”

 

Mr. Chairman, we have failed to carry out the FLSA’s purpose. Worse, we have failed workers.

 

Workers like Terrence Wise—a young man who spoke with great pride about his work but wasn’t afforded the dignity of a livable wage.  A young man who, despite working multiple jobs, lived out a van with his fiancée and three daughters and felt the shame of dressing his children in a parking lot rather than in the privacy of his own home. You could hear it in his voice, he wanted to break the generational poverty that had enveloped his family. We need to stand with him in this fight for his dignity and for the dignity of workers across our country.

 

Let’s not fail Mr. Wise today.

 

Sadly, my state, Pennsylvania, is one of 22 states that have not enacted legislation to set a floor greater than the current $7.25 national level. When adjusted for inflation, $7.25 per hour is actually less than the federal minimum wage of 50 years ago. With corporate profits at an all-time high and wages stagnant, we have a duty to ensure that the low-wage workers who generate this wealth are paid a living wage.

 

In my District, the Raise the Wage Act would give 98,400 workers a raise.  The total, aggregate wage increase in my District would be $308,414, amounting to an average annual earning increase of $3,100 per worker by 2024.  That means 98,400 workers with greater buying power in my District alone. 

 

For context, in the last 40 years, Congress has passed just 4 adjustments to the federal minimum wage. Only four adjustments even as healthcare, housing, child care costs, and tuition rates have all increased.  During that same 40 year period, Congress has voted themselves approximately 20 raises, and, through many of its policies, has voted corporate executives and donors even more substantial raises.

 

I implore my colleagues to recommit to the FLSA’s original purpose—a purpose that shouldn’t be controversial or partisan.  Lets recommit to giving our workers a chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Let’s finally start taking on the record income and wealth inequality across our country and get to work building an economy that delivers for all workers. Let’s pass the Raise the Wage Act right now.

 

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