A trying winter, a hopeful spring

My PSEA Login



Executive Director's Column

It's about RESPECT

“We have brothers and sisters in Pennsylvania school districts who do not earn the compensation they deserve – teachers who are paid less than $20,000 each year, and education service professionals who do not earn a living wage.”

“By passing this NBI and starting this initiative, we will show we believe that every one of our members should be respected for the jobs we do and the contributions and impacts these jobs have on our communities.”

These are some of the comments PSEA members made on Dec. 1, 2018, before the PSEA House of Delegates approved New Business Item #3, in support of an initiative they called “Raise Educators’ Salaries Provide Economic Certainty Today” –  RESPECT. NBI #3 called on PSEA to advocate for increases in the minimum wage and the minimum salary for educators and college faculty.

Delegates noted that it has been 10 years since the minimum wage was last adjusted and 30 years since the minimum teacher salary was set at $18,500 and said it is time to make these wages and salaries more consistent with neighboring states.

On Jan. 30, 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf called for a 65 percent increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour immediately, and, eventually, $15 an hour.

On Feb. 5, Gov. Wolf presented his proposed 2019-20 spending plan and called on state legislators to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum educator salary to $45,000.

This did not happen by accident. It was due, in significant part, to the work of PSEA staff who immediately went to work in support of the NBI. They diligently researched the issue and persuaded administration officials about the benefits of such a policy.

Research staff parsed the numbers and costed proposals, Field staff talked to members and contemplated implementation issues, Legal staff worked on legislative language, Communications staff interviewed members and wrote information to explain the issues, and Government Relations staff conveyed all this information to policymakers.

We have already spent many hours on this issue. But for certain, there is more work to do as the Legislature begins active consideration of these proposals as part of the budget debate. And we need your help.

If you’re a member who earns less than $12 an hour or less than $45,000, please share your story. Are you struggling to make ends meet or working more than one job? Do you work with members who are underpaid for the work they do? Why do you support these increases?

Your voice will help demonstrate the real-world impacts of underpaying those who work in our schools. Please go to www.psea.org/respect to share your story.

Every PSEA member deserves


Email Jim Vaughan: