by Rev. Linda Noonan of Chestnut Hill United Church
My name is Linda Noonan, pastor of Chestnut Hill United Church and a representative of POWER, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild. We are a faith-based organization of 42 member congregations across economic, cultural, geographic lines across the city working to ensure that this is a city that works for all. We have been working for the last year and a half with partners such as 32 BJ and Unite Here to work for economic justice at the airport.
Today is a good day in Philadelphia. It is a good day in Philadelphia when our elected officials make it possible for working people to live with dignity. it is a good day in Philadelphia when our elected officials do the right thing for the people that they lead. At this very moment, 40% of our city, 40% of the Philadelphians that are working and have jobs continue to live in poverty. This is morally unacceptable. People who get up show up and work for forty hours a week should not be poor. A person who works full time should not go hungry. A father who works full time should not have to rely on food stamps. And a mother who works full time should not have to decide between medicine for one child and feeding her family. Not in a city where some of our corporations are making huge profits while we the taxpayers are subsidizing food stamps and aid to keep those same families afloat. We’ve been using public money for poverty wages.
But today is a good day in Philadelphia. Today Councilman Goode has led a successful charge to allow a city wide vote to extend a living wage for those working for city contractors and subcontractors. This vote has just passed unanimously in city council. This means that airport workers who get 7 dollars an hour for full time work and no healthcare while the airlines reap huge profits can now feed their families and get the medicine they need. This means that people that work on city-funded projects can work hard and still live with dignity. This means that the people that do work for our city will not be poor. POWER has worked closely with Councilman Goode and we celebrate his leadership on this front. We celebrate your leadership and your commitment to the people of this city and the ways in which you demonstrate this commitment. And we celebrate the work of our City Council members who voted today to support this legislation, who used their power and influence to do the right thing. Today is a good day in Philadelphia. Living wage in Philadelphia: It’s time. Thanks to the work of POWER, SEIU 320BJ and our allies, City Council, and our leaders, it is now possible.