Today, in 200 U.S. cities, workers will rally for higher pay and a union. These actions, which started in November of 2012, have been instrumental in building momentum for state and local minimum wage increases.
These events have already driven large corporations like the Gap, Walmart, and McDonald’s to announce, usually with great fanfare, that they are raising wages. On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania-based retailer, Giant Food Stores (the firm is a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational Ahold), joined in and announced that it would raise starting salaries to $9 per hour.
While $9 falls short of the $10.10 per hour minimum wage being advocated by the Raise The Wage Pa Coalition it does represent another victory in the fight to raise wages a victory that comes in no small part from thousands of workers who risk their jobs to speak out for higher wages.
It’s thanks to events like those happening all over Pennsylvania today that the Pennsylvania legislature will likely pass a bill to raise the minimum wage this year. By all accounts, we will win the fight for a higher minimum wage. The tough part of the fight will be lifting the statewide minimum wage in Pennsylvania to at least $10.10, including for tipped workers, and retaining for local governments the power to set their own minimum wage at a higher level.