FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mark B. Cohen
Cohen recognizes 100th anniversary of minimum wage
Questions assignment of resolution as controversial
HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Mark Cohen is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the minimum wage by introducing a resolution into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Cohen said that even though the resolution (H.R. 789) has bipartisan co-sponsorship, it was referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee by the Speaker of the House, rather than added to the House voting schedule as a noncontroversial resolution.
"The minimum wage shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It has been important to hardworking men and women across not only our commonwealth but the entire country for 100 years," said Cohen, a longtime proponent of raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.
On June 4, 1912, Massachusetts passed the country's first minimum wage law, at first applying only to women and children, and soon after industry-specific wage boards were created to determine respective minimum wages.
Between 1912 and 1923, 15 other states, including the District of Columbia, followed Massachusetts' lead in establishing minimum wage laws. However, in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's minimum wage law on the basis that it violated the right of contract under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins advocated for a national minimum wage, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the minimum wage a key platform of his 1936 re-election bid, promising to constitutionally protect American workers. In 1938, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act passed with a 25 cents per hour wage floor and in 1941, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act on a 9-0 decision.