PHILADELPHIA— October 6, 2016 – Today, Philadelphia City Council passed an historic prevailing wage ordinance, updating existing law to create jobs that pay a fair wage and set benefits standards for workers employed in publicly-subsidized buildings.
The existing law guarantees prevailing wage to building service employees working at large residential or commercial buildings that are provided significant financial assistance by the city, are leased from the city, or were bought from the city.
This bill will expand the types of buildings covered by prevailing wage. Currently, the law does not include employees working in some City-subsidized buildings such as universities, hospitals, stadiums, ports, airports, and convention centers. Many of these buildings receive substantial assistance from the City each year and yet do not pay their employees a living wage.
“We can no longer let public resources subsidize poverty wages,” said Councilmember Helen Gym (At Large), the bill’s author. “I’m proud to say that Council is committed to tackling the inequality that divides our city. Our bill represents an effort on the part of city government to fight back against the unequal distribution of resources that has for too long forced too many to live with too little. This is public policy in action.”
“I am overjoyed. This is a good day for security officers and others who help to keep buildings across the city safe and clean. Many of us struggle from week to week to make ends meet. I’m grateful for City Council for passing this bill that helps us better take care of our children and support our communities,” said security officer Jean Duvall.
“This is a momentous day for workers across the city. Expanding the prevailing wage opens the doors of opportunity for thousands of building service workers to lift themselves out of poverty,” said Gabe Morgan, 32BJ SEIU Vice President.
Helen Gym was sworn in as an At-Large Member of Council 2016. Her primary concerns include addressing widespread poverty in Philadelphia, particularly through an emphasis on building a quality public education system. For more information, visit phlcouncil.com/HelenGym.