December 2, 2014 |
Last month, a dozen workers walked through Philadelphia International Airport just before 5 a.m., wondering whether they still had jobs. The repercussions of their walkout the day before - a protest over pay and conditions - would be seen when they tried to clock in. Standing among the anxious group were three members of City Council. The pre-dawn escort was only the latest wage-equality crusade to draw Council's attention. Some want Council's next step to be radical - passing a $15 citywide minimum wage, despite state law that seems to say it can't.
October 18, 2014 |
City Council on Thursday approved a bill that would make it easier for fast-food firms, hotels, and other traditionally low-wage employers in Philadelphia to pay their workers $12 an hour. If signed into law by Mayor Nutter, an employer would get a $5,000 tax credit for each new full-time worker it hires and pays at least $12 an hour. The tax break would last five years. The bill, sponsored by Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. and unanimously approved, comes as some left-leaning groups are campaigning to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, while others want it raised to $15, as Seattle did in June.
September 6, 2014 |
Nine fast-food workers were among 11 people arrested Thursday for blocking traffic on Arch Street near a Center City McDonald's, part of a national campaign pushing large restaurant chains to pay workers at least $15 an hour and seeking greater attention for income disparities. Dozens were reported arrested at similar rallies planned in about 150 cities Thursday. Organizers of the "Fight for $15" campaign said they planned civil disobedience to highlight an effort that has made little headway since it began with a small New York strike after Thanksgiving in 2012.
September 5, 2014 |
UNDER A BLAZING noontime sun, Philadelphia police Capt. Stephen Glenn and a couple of officers slowly worked their way, one by one, down the row of 11 young fast-food workers and supporters sitting in the normally busy intersection of Broad and Arch streets in Center City. Most of the youthful workers grabbed a microphone and uttered a short statement before the cops read their rights, arrested them, placed them in plastic handcuffs and led them to a waiting bus. "I'm doing this so we can pay our medical bills - we're making history right now," protester Jose Torres said before he was led away.
September 5, 2014 |
Sen. Cory Booker launched his reelection campaign Wednesday at Camden County College, portraying himself as a pragmatic problem-solver whose "prosperity agenda" to lift the middle class contrasts sharply with his Republican opponent's "defunct and debunked" economic ideas. Booker, a 45-year-old Democrat and the former celebrity mayor of Newark, is seeking his first full, six-year Senate term after winning a special election last year to complete the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
June 11, 2014 |
The low-paid airport workers who cheered when Mayor Nutter signed an executive order in May that extended minimum wage benefits to subcontractors such as them are not cheering anymore. Three weeks have passed since the mayor's order, applying the $10.88 minimum wage requirement to subcontractors, went into effect. But the paychecks of many of those airport workers still reflect $7.50 hourly wages. The order applies to any bids or proposals issued after May 20, and starting Jan. 1, all proposals and contracts will include a $12-an-hour minimum wage requirement.
May 22, 2014 |
City voters once again rejected a controversial measure that would have allowed politicians to keep their current post while campaigning for another. Tuesday's ballot question to repeal the long-standing resign-to-run rule was defeated by a close margin. The issue was also defeated in 2007. The other two questions on the ballot prevailed. Voters decided that city subcontractors must pay their workers 150 percent of the federal minimum wage, or $10.88 an hour. The minimum wage issue was front and center with airport workers, who were making as little as $7 an hour.
May 21, 2014 |
NATE SMITH, 22, a baggage handler at Philadelphia International Airport and father of a 2-year-old girl, says he experiences pretty much all of the downsides of work - the constant aches and back pain from lugging more than 1,000 heavy bags every day. But earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the Southwest Philadelphia resident says he is not enjoying the full benefits of his labors. Smith said that he, his fiancee and his daughter are living with his grandmother to make ends meet, and he's frustrated when he can't buy his little girl a toy because he can barely pay the monthly bills.
May 20, 2014 |
Philadelphia voters will decide three ballot questions on Tuesday, including one seeking to end the city's long tradition of forcing politicians to resign from office before running for another post. The resign-to-run rule was enshrined in the City Charter in 1951 as a good government salve to years of corrupt, one-party rule. But City Councilman David Oh, who sponsored legislation to put the question on the ballot, said the rule instead had caused political stagnation that hamstrings the city's influence.
April 13, 2014 |
Low-wage workers at Philadelphia International Airport urged Philadelphia voters Friday to approve a question on the May 20 primary ballot that would increase the minimum wage for employees hired by airport subcontractors to $10.88 an hour. The workers, who earn an average of $7.85 an hour, rallied outside the airport's Terminal B carrying signs reading: "Don't leave us behind the Big Apple!" After a heated campaign by airport workers in New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently asked four airlines - American, Delta, JetBlue, and United - at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports to grant an immediate raise of $1 an hour for workers earning less than $9. The raise will be phased-in to $10.10 an hour.