PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Allegheny County Council voted on and passed $20 an hour for Allegheny County employees by 2026 Tuesday night. Now, that bill just needs to be ratified.
On Tuesday night, the Allegheny County Council voted 10-to-4 on a bill that would increase wages for county workers for the next three years.
If this bill becomes a law, the minimum wage increase will start in 2024, with wages going up from $18 an hour in 2024, to $19 an hour in 2025 and then $20 an hour in 2026 for Allegheny County employees.
Allegheny County Council Member At-Large, Bethany Hallam, is the chief architect of this bill and she says that this all stemmed from trying to hire lifeguards at county pools last summer and not being able to get people to work for the current pay rate.
"I introduced this bill little over a year ago after reports were coming out that Allegheny County was having a really hard time getting lifeguards to open up the pools for the summer, last summer. And I looked into it, and I realized that some of our lifeguards were making around $14 an hour and I realized I wouldn't take that job, so why would I expect someone else to take that job for that wage," Hallam said.
Currently, Allegheny County has no minimum wage for its employees, but Hallam says that many on the council agreed that not having a set minimum wage for county employees was in fact a hindrance to not only attracting and hiring workers but retaining them.
Over the year, she was able to cobble together a coalition of 10 on the council to vote and pass this bill, and now it awaits approval from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who has said in the past that a minimum wage increase would inhibit bargaining with labor unions, among other issues.
Hallam expects him to veto the bill.
"Oh, I definitely think he is going to veto. He all but said it in the press releases that he put out a couple of weeks ago, was that he was going to veto it. That's why we worked so hard to secure a solid foundation of 10 votes, which is what we need to override the veto and I am confident that those votes will stick, and we'll be overriding it whenever he decides to put it forward."
Now, Fitzgerald has seven days to approve or veto this bill. KDKA reached out to his office for comment, but he was unavailable.
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