Philadelphia city employee minimum wage bill advances in council

Pat Loeb
November 20, 2018 - 4:00 pm
Philadelphia City Hall

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia city workers and those who work for city contractors appear poised to get a raise. A bill phasing in a hike in their minimum wage sailed through a City Council hearing on Tuesday.

"We're all on the same side here," said Councilman Mark Squilla, "and it's kind of fun to have this type of hearing."

Councilman Squilla introduced the bill with 12 cosponsors, enough to pass the bill by themselves. Nonetheless, half a dozen witnesses testified in support, including Michelle Newman, who works for a food concession at the airport.

"I'm proud to be standing on my own two feet, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a struggle," Newman said. "Between rent, child care, SEPTA, gas, electric, putting food on the table, it's simply not enough to get by. It doesn't add up.

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Newman makes $13 an hour, about $27,000 a year. That's more than the state and federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour because the city already has a higher minimum for contractors. But under the new bill, that minimum would be $15 by 2023.

"It will make a huge difference for me and my children and my coworkers," Newman said. "One day I hope to be able to take my family on a trip or just somewhere fun. I want to provide more than just a roof over their heads."

Newman would see her first raise, to $13.25, this July.

There was no testimony opposing the bill.