Fighting for Workers' Rights

Yesterday was the 125th anniversary of Labor Day, a holiday day that celebrates the enormous contributions the American worker has made to the strength and prosperity of our country and to the wide proliferation of its freedoms. It is a day of well-deserved picnics and parades—a day to celebrate victories such as paid sick leave, the federal Equal Pay Act and the American with Disabilities Act.
 
With fellow legislators at the 2019 Philadelphia Labor Day Parade.
 
But it is not a day to rest on our laurels. Here in Pennsylvania, we need to further support our workers by:
 
  • Raising the minimum wage. At $7.25 an hour, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is the lowest in the Northeast. Raising the minimum wage could help up to 1.2 million Pennsylvanians (many of them women), put nearly $2 billion back into workers’ pockets and create more than 6,000 jobs. I am a co-sponsor of the One Fair Wage bill, which would raise the minimum wage incrementally to top out at $15 per hour in 2024 and would also set the tipped wage to the same level, ensuring that all workers get paid a living wage.
 
  • Banning discriminatory pay based on gender. I co-sponsored House Bill 166 to do exactly that, to place new penalties on employers who do so and to create an Equal Pay Commission to study the issue. I also co-sponsored House Bill 850 to ensure that wages are broadened to cover more employees and include more benefits.
 
  • Passing the Paid Family Leave Act. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the U.S. is the only industrialized country without a national parental paid leave requirement. Some states are stepping up to fill that vacuum; Pennsylvania should be one of them. The Paid Family Leave Act, of which I am a co-sponsor, would allow eligible employees up to 12 weeks leave at full pay.
 
  • Banning discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.It isn’t right that someone can get married on a Saturday and fired the following Monday once their sexual orientation is known—yet it is perfectly legal to do so in Pennsylvania. Once again, I am a cosponsor of the LGBTQ Civil Rights Protection Act, an incredibly important piece of legislation that seeks to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, including those who are gay and trans, are protected from discrimination.
 
For as long as I am in Harrisburg, I will continue to fight for fairness for all workers in Pennsylvania.