Near our office in Center City Philadelphia today, workers met to protest the low wages paid by their employers and urge city and state government officials to adopt a minimum wage of $15 an hour. The demonstration was part of a coordinated, nationwide rally led by fast food workers in 270 cities and supported by many politicians and other workers’ organizations.

We’ve been closely following the efforts of workers to raise the minimum wage as it has gained momentum following successes in other cities, such as Seattle. Today, New York State and Pittsburgh joined the group by announcing plans to move public employees to $15 an hour.

New York State is already moving toward a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers based on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement in September. The wage increases will effect 200,000 employees over a phase-in period of three years in New York City and six years in the rest of the state. Governor Cuomo has promised to fight for a $15 minimum wage for all industries.

Philadelphia has passed a living wage law for government contractors providing for their employees to be paid $12 an hour. This summer, airport workers employed by subcontractors successfully lobbied to have their employers comply with the spirit of the law as part of a deal struck permitting a new lease between the airlines and airport.

As we fight for the rights of employees, both in the context of defending whistleblowers as well as fighting for unpaid wages our clients are legally entitled to under federal or state law, we’re cognizant of the fact that our efforts through the judicial system can only get workers so far.

So we look forward to the continued success of this movement to lift hard working Americans above the poverty line through the payment of a living wage for their work.

Have questions for our employment attorneys about the living wage movement or suspect wage theft by your employer? Receive a free consultation by filling out our contact form or calling 1-800-590-4116.