Lehigh Valley

Workers rally for minimum wage in Allentown

Workers rally for minimum wage in Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Raising the federal minimum wage is the hot topic in Washington right now.

Wednesday some workers rallied in Allentown and told lawmakers to make it happen.

They have jobs, but some people making minimum wage in Allentown still say they are living in poverty.

"Increasing the minimum wage is vital to the economic security of tens of millions of Americans," said Fritz Walker, a rally participant.

This rally in Allentown is meant to urge Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey to vote for the Harkin-Miller bill.

The measure would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, to $10.10 an hour.

"I wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck just to keep the bills away," said speaker, Daniel Berrios. "I'd be able to pay them."

Berrios makes minimum wage and says he barely has enough money to survive.

He says working seven hours won't even fill his gas tank.

"Recently I paid $33 for gas, nine gallons of gas and I was left with $10.50," added Berrios.

Some Republicans, including Senator Toomey, say they won't vote for the increase.

In a written statement Toomey says, "What the minimum wage does is it arbitrarily adds a government dictated price for wages for people who have lesser skills and for younger workers, the very people who most need an opportunity to get into the workforce, to get their first job and start their way up the economic ladder."

A non-partisan Congressional budget office report says raising the wage would help millions.

But the increase will also cost an estimated 500,000 people their jobs.

"Nothing is perfect when you are dealing with a society of 300 million people," said Walker.

Right now lawmakers seem far from agreement.

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