About 40 people gathered outside City Hall today to call for a federal higher minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.
“Everybody deserves a decent living wage,” said Andre Butler, a banquet server who says he makes less than $9 per hour and struggles to support himself and his retired parents. “People like myself don’t have the opportunity to live the life we deserve to live.”
The push for raising the minimum wage got a shot in the arm earlier this year when President Obama included the issue in his State of the Union address.
“We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages,” Obama said. “Lets declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. We should be able to get that done.”
As a candidate in 2008, Obama proposed upping the minimum to $9.50 per hour over time. The wage has not been raised since 2009.
There have been several recent proposals in Congress on the issue, but none have gained support among House Republicans.
Today’s demonstration was organized by Fight for Philly, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, SEIU 32BJ and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, among other groups.