City Council Votes Unanimously to Investigate Poverty in the Parking Industry

Julie Blust jblust@seiu32bj.org
215-713-6777

City Council Votes Unanimously to Investigate Poverty in the Parking Industry

Councilwoman Parker-Backed Resolution Calls for Hearings to Investigate Poverty Wages and Poor Treatment in the $30 Billion Parking Industry

PHILADELHIA –As City Council considers series of bills that aim to reduce Philadelphia’s stubbornly high poverty rate, Council today unanimously passed a resolution to investigate the low-wage parking industry in Philadelphia. The parking industry in Philadelphia earned $453 million in revenue last year and  employs more than 1,000 workers who earn as little as $7.25 an hour and work two and three jobs to survive.

Sponsored by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, the resolution decries the industry’s low wages and supports workers organizing to better their lives.

“The hardworking men and women who work in parking lots across the city need a living wage so that they can support their families,” said Councilwoman Cherelle Parker. “We must ensure that the prosperity our city is experiencing lifts everyone, including parking workers. Parking workers should not have to work two and three jobs just to get by. All working people in Philadelphia, including those in the parking industry, deserve to be paid a decent, family sustaining, living wage.”

“We are fighting to lift ourselves out of poverty. The parking industry’s profits should not depend on our poverty.  I’m not looking for a handout, I am looking for a living wage,” said parking worker, Mike Hardaway who testified in support of the resolution.

“Today Council sent a message that Philly can do better than poverty for workers in the lucrative parking industry. The key to fighting poverty is through good jobs—for parking workers and all Philadelphians. Unless we make sure service sector jobs are family-sustaining, our deep poverty rate will never budge,” said Daisy Cruz, 32BJ SEIU Mid-Atlantic District Leader.

Today’s council session was first time the plight of parking workers has taken center stage at a city council meeting. Parking workers have held rallies and demonstrations for the last year in protest of the poverty wages and poor treatment that are rampant in the industry.

RESOLUTION

Authorizing City Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold hearings regarding parking workers deserving a living wage

WHEREAS, More than a quarter of Philadelphia residents remain in poverty, including 14 percent in “deep poverty,” with incomes below half the poverty line. While a growing number of Philadelphians have jobs, and some work long hours or have two jobs, their low wages still leave too many with incomes that do not cover the cost of basic necessities, or enable workers to buy enough at neighborhood businesses to drive the city economy forward; and

WHEREAS, More than 1,000 parking workers cater to the City’s business, civic, professional, and cultural elite, as well as tourists; and

WHEREAS, 87 percent of parking workers are African American or African males that have lived in Philadelphia for more than 5 years; and

WHEREAS, The parking industry is a $30 billion industry in America, with CEOs taking home millions of dollars, which is a hundred or more times the pay of typical parking workers; and

WHEREAS, Low-wage service sector workers in the parking industry are paid a median wage of $9.50 an hour; at this rate, a single adult would have to work 68 hours per week to pay for housing, food, public transportation, child care, and other necessities for one child; and

WHEREAS, Despite working long hours, 69 percent of parking workers make below the City median salary, which is just $41,449, and 24 percent have an income below $20,000; and

WHEREAS, Many parking workers have more than one job and work as many as 70 hours per week; despite this, many parking workers live paycheck to paycheck, while 54 percent have difficulty paying one or more of their bills; and

WHEREAS, Despite many years with the with their current employer, two thirds of parking workers have never received a raise, making it difficult or next to impossible to keep up with the rising cost of living; and

WHEREAS, Increasing parking workers’ wages to at least $15 per hour would lift 1,000 parking workers out of poverty, and begin to build a new middle class for Philadelphia; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, That it hereby authorizes City Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service to hold hearings regarding parking workers deserving a living wage.

 

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