(Philadelphia, October 20, 2016) – Declaring it a vital step for thousands who struggle to make ends meet, Mayor Kenney today signed into law a measure that expands the City’s Prevailing Wage Ordinance to include service workers at publicly-subsidized institutions.
“People usually associate the word ‘poverty’ with ‘unemployment,’” said the Mayor. “But the fact is, a good number of Philadelphians who are employed still find themselves struggling in poverty. This measure marks an important step towards assuring that low-wage employees receive a family-sustaining wage.”
Signed into law was Bill #160713, passed unanimously by Philadelphia City Council on October 6. It expands the Prevailing Wage Ordinance to include service workers at universities, hospitals, stadiums, the Convention Center and other publicly-subsided institutions. With the Mayor’s signature, the bill takes effect immediately, and will be applied to future contracts and agreements between the City and such institutions.
“By expanding prevailing wage requirements, we are ensuring that thousands of hardworking Philadelphians and their families will see a long-overdue raise,” said the measure’s primary sponsor, At-Large Councilwoman Helen Gym. “We can no longer let public resources subsidize poverty wages.”
“The prevailing wage law will help lift thousands of hard-working Philadelphians out of poverty,” said Gabe Morgan, 32BJ Service Employees International Union Vice President. “It will ensure that Philadelphia taxpayers don’t fund poverty jobs and that the city’s economy works for people from all of the neighborhoods.”
The City has had a prevailing wage law for workers since the 1950s. It requires any corporation or non-profit that receives a subsidy from the City or a City-related agency to pay the going rate for wages and benefits to construction workers they hire. In 2008, the measure was expanded to include building service workers, such as janitors, security guards, and building engineers at commercial office and residential buildings. However, that amendment did not apply to universities, hospitals and other non-profit institutions, prompting the need for this latest expansion of the law.