City Council Report: Harrity and Driscoll Call for Higher Minimum Wage; Phillips Seeks Child Welfare Worker Hearing

Minimum Wage

Councilmembers Jim Harrity and Mike Driscoll introduced a resolution calling on the “Pennsylvania General Assembly to allow the City of Philadelphia to enact its own minimum wage laws, allowing the city to increase the starting hourly rate that’s been the same for the last 14 years.”

The minimum wage in Pennsylvania has remained stagnant since 2009 at $7.25 an hour, which, when adjusted for Philadelphia’s cost of living, is just $6.69 per hour, accordion to the resolution.

A 2019 ballot referendum calling on the state legislature to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour received over 141,000 votes; more than 81% of those who voted supported the measure.

Other communities that have raised their minimum wage have seen overwhelmingly positive results.

“Minimum wage is more than just a labor issue – it’s a human right to earn a decent living to provide themselves and their family,” said Councilmember Harrity. “For too long, that right has not been modified by our state legislators to account for increases in costs of living for the past 14 years. It is up to us, as representatives of what is the ‘poorest big city in the country’ to stand up for Philadelphians and demand higher wages.”

Condemnation of the Union League

Councilmember Sharon Vaughn introduced a resolution condemning the Union League of a Philadelphia, an exclusive, member-only club in Center City, for bestowing their Gold Medal award to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The resolution excoriates DeSantis, describing his tenure as governor of Florida as marked by “cruelty, division, censorship, political gamesmanship, and the undermining of our democratic system.”

DeSantis’ actions as governor, which include banning books, attacks on the LGTB community, attacks on public school teachers, and, most recently, banning Advanced Placement African-American History courses.

The resolution comes after members of City Council, advocacy groups, and Philadelphians protested the Union League on the day of the Gold Medal ceremony.

Child Welfare Workforce

Councilmember Anthony Phillips introduced a resolution authorizing the Committee on Children and Youth to conduct hearings on the state of Philadelphia’s child welfare workforce.

As explained in the resolution, the Philadelphia Child Welfare Workforce Task Force is a collection of child welfare providers who work together to identify ways to improve the current child welfare system. In November of 2022, the task force released its most recent report, The State of Philadelphia’s Child Welfare Workforce: Findings and Recommendations.

  • The resolution provides stark data regarding the current state of child welfare employees in Philadelphia, including:
  • Pre-Pandemic, the turnover rate for child welfare jobs was around 30%
  • Post-Pandemic, the rate is closer to 45%
  • Key issues driving turnover include salary rates, funding levels, large caseloads, and a lack of professional development

Gun Violence Survivors Week

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson introduced a resolution recognizing February 1-7 as National Gun Violence Survivor Week in Philadelphia.

The resolution states over 45,000 Americans are killed by acts of gun violence, with tens of thousands more involved in non-fatal shootings. Last year, Philadelphia suffered 516 homicides and thousands of non-fatal shootings.

Resolution No. 230014

Approving the reappointment of Wendell Anthony Ewing to the Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board. Click here to read more

Resolution No. 230018

Authorizing the Philadelphia Land Bank to dispose of 2315, 2316, 2317, 2318, 2337, 2339, 2349 Greenwich Street; 1709, 1711, 1822R – 34, 1836 Point Breeze Avenue; 1555 S. Ringgold Street; 2445 Federal Street and 2329 Ellsworth Street located in the 2nd District in accordance with the terms of Chapter 16-700 of The Philadelphia Code. Click here to read more.

Resolution No. 230021

Authorizing requests to the Law Department to represent City Council in an appeal from decisions of the Department of Licenses and Inspections to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment or the License and Inspection Review Board and, if the Law Department declines to render such services to City Council, authorizing the retention of outside counsel to provide such services. Click here to read more.

Bill No. 220770

To amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the measurements of zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Cottman Avenue, Oxford Avenue, Tyson Avenue, Rising Sun Avenue, Glenview Street, Bingham Street, Kerper Street, Rising Sun Avenue, Unruh Avenue, Martins Mill Road, City Boundary, and Hasbrook Avenue. Click here to read more.

Bill No. 220942

To amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designation of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Parkside Avenue, 49th Street, Jefferson Street, and 48th Street (extended). Click here to learn more.

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