Ignoring a federal judge’s injunction, Scranton, Pennsylvania moved ahead with its plan to reduce the pay of city workers to the federal minimum wage starting Friday. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty claims the city is broke and that the minimum wage payments are all it can possibly pay, the Scranton Times Tribune reports:
Amid Scranton’s ever-deepening financial crisis, Mayor Chris Doherty said his administration is going forward with a plan to unilaterally slash the pay of 398 workers to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour with today’s payroll, insisting it is all the city can afford.
That will likely earn administration officials an appointment with Judge Michael Barrasse, who granted the city’s police, fire and public works unions a special injunction temporarily barring the administration from imposing the pay cuts after a brief hearing Thursday.
Many of those workers are police officers, firefighters, and other public safety workers, industries that have been slammed by contractions in state and local budgets since the Great Recession. Congressional Republicans repeatedly blocked efforts to extend aid to the states that would have helped shore up their budgets and keep these workers on payroll. In the case of Scranton, such aid may have helped the city actually pay its workers a living wage instead of a federal minimum that hasn’t been raised since 2006 and has less buying power than it had in 1968.