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Friday, December 08, 2006

New Pa Congressmen To Rally For Higher Minimum Wage

On Tuesday, December 12, newly elected congressmen Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania will join Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Bloomingdale, several Central Labor Council presidents from the 7th and 8th Congressional Districts of the state, and union membersto pledge their support to fight for issues that matter to working families: affordable healthcare, retirement security, the freedom to form unions, and most urgently, an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Democrats Sestak and Murphy won their seats in the Nov. 7 elections that handed control of Congress to their party for the first time since 1995. Sestak, particularly, defeated longtime GOP incumbent Rep. Curt Weldon.

Labor leaders and union members will join Sestak and Murphy for a press briefing at the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1776, 3031 AWalton Road, Suite 210, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

"In Pennsylvania union members mobilized in record numbers to helpelect new leaders into office, and we're eager to work together to fightfor the working men and women of Pennsylvania," says George."Giving America a raise should be the newly elected Congress' first vote,followed by real solutions to America's health care crisis, falling wages,and lack of retirement security."

This month marks the longest period between pay raises since the federal minimum wage law was first enacted in 1938. The real value of the minimum wage -- now $5.15 an hour -- has dropped to its lowest level in 51 years. Meanwhile, Congress gave itself nine pay raises since 1997 --totaling $35,000 -- all while blocking attempts to raise the federal minimum wage for low-wage workers.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour would directly benefit 6.6 million low-wage workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.


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