Not long ago, I told you 17 of Northampton County's custodial workers are paid less than $15/Hr. I have since learned, in response to a Right-to-Know request, that 232 full-time county workers are paid under $15/hr. Another 163 part-time or seasonal employees are also paid less than the US House has determined American workers are worth. This is roughly 18% of the County's workforce. While Northampton County construction contracts require prevailing wage to be paid, and Council members moan about the need for a living wage, they appear to have no regard for their own workforce.
The list, which you can review for yourself below, covers numerous important jobs. These include over 50 certified nurse's aides at Gracedale, social workers and numerous clerks in the row offices. The County justifies these save wages because it pays $9.62 per hour for benefits for every full-time worker. That's unfair, too. This is because the county pays this same amount for everyone. Employees who earn far more money and who could and should pay more for benefits get the same hourly rate as someone receiving a pittance. In effect, the lower paid employees subsidize the benefits paid for cabinet officials.
In Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced this week that his entire workforce is now being paid at least $15/hr. He said Columbus should "lead by example." City Council President Elizabeth Brown adds, "Leveling the playing field for families in Columbus starts with living wages, and one of our goals as an employer must be to set a standard for wages and benefits that help families thrive. I’m proud to see the city beat its commitment to bringing all full-time workers to $15-per-hour by 2020."
Closer to home, both Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are on track to pay their workforce at least $15/hr by the beginning of next year. But Northampton County Council, despite having two trade union agents as members, seems to be more interested in plastic straw bans.
Many, if not most, of the Northampton County workers getting paid under $15/hr are single parents. The living wage in Northampton County for a single parent with just one child is $23.93.
According to Keystone Research, 42% of those paid under $15/hr are over the age of 40. Over half (55%) are women.