PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Employees at big box stores like Target and Best Buy will now earn $15 an hour.

It’s a power move that means their employees will earn more than all minimum-wage workers across the state of Pennsylvania, and it’s a fact Lt. Gov. John Fetterman says is embarrassing.

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KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to Lt. Gov. Fetterman who says this should get people fired-up.

“We are now being lapped by big box stores that are facing their own kind of challenges and I think it’s time in Pennsylvania we just get with the program and start paying people something resembling a living wage,” he says.

In 2009, our minimum wage hit $7.25. Fast forward 11 years and it hasn’t budged. Fetterman said that means we’re paying for other things.

“We know what happens if you pay somebody minimum wage,” he says. “They’re going to need rental assistance, food stamps, all these other kind of subsidies and guess who pays for that? You do.”

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So when news broke Wednesday with headlines reading “Best Buy Boosts Starting Hourly Pay To $15 An Hour,” Fetterman tweeted our state’s minimum wage is now less than half of Best Buy’s minimum pay rate.

“Let’s reward hard work, let’s reward working,” he says. “There’s dignity in that, I believe that. There is dignity in every job, so then there has to be dignity in every paycheck, too.”

In January, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed — for the sixth time — an increase to $12 an hour. But state Republicans argued businesses — especially small ones — would struggle and have to lay off more entry-level workers.

“You know what? I understand it’s compromise. If you won’t give us 15, give us 12. Give us 11? They wouldn’t even put 9.50 up for a vote and I think that’s just fundamentally wrong,” he says.

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Best Buy’s increase goes into effect for hourly employees on Aug. 2. Target also bumped up its hourly pay to $15 an hour this month.

Meghan Schiller