December 13, 2014 |
In its final scheduled meeting of 2014, Philadelphia City Council focused on a flurry of measures to aid the city's blue-collar workers, including a past failed proposal - mandatory paid sick leave - and a new and controversial one calling for a citywide minimum wage. Council also approved legislation to support workers at Philadelphia International Airport, where contract staff staged a walkout last month. More than a dozen airport employees in red shirts packed the Council chamber Thursday, joined by another group advocating a minimum wage.
December 11, 2014
ISSUE | FERGUSON, MO. Call for backup Since when is the absolute guarantee of a conviction the basis for deciding whether to charge an individual with a crime ("Close read shows the Ferguson grand jury got it right," Dec. 7)? That would seem to be Currents columnist Michael Smerconish's conclusion in defending the prosecutor's decision not to bring charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, but it skirts the very issue Smerconish portends to address.
December 10, 2014
IN AN IDEAL world, all workers would get paid a living wage and get employer-provided health care, sick leave and a retirement plan. But, this is not France. We live in America, the land of the free - where employers are free to offer low-wage jobs without benefits. The old theory of a rising tide lifting all boats doesn't apply in this case. As the economy has climbed out of the recession, the data tell us that the rich are getting richer while the poor are still underwater.
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.
November 17, 2014 |
Even with 3 percent growth last quarter and unemployment at 5.8 percent, the lowest rate since the summer of 2008, Americans still worry about the economy, and with good reason. While available jobs have increased at the top and the bottom of the pay scale, not much is happening in between. The country's vast middle class is also treading stagnant water when it comes to wages, which grew an average of 2 percent over the last year, barely outpacing the 1.7 percent inflation rate. Exit polls during the recent midterm elections showed that 78 percent of voters were troubled by the economy's direction, with two-thirds saying it's getting worse.
November 1, 2014 |
Struggling to keep her tears under control, Cleotilde Tiacopilco described a day on the job at Olympic Linen & Laundry Service in Lansdowne: Start at 8 a.m., clean 5,000 napkins, put them in a machine, then count and pack them. Finish by 6 p.m., then spend the next hour or so cleaning the office and the bathroom. Her pay over 12 years? No overtime and $5 an hour until November 2013, when she got a raise to $6.50, she said at a news conference held in City Hall on Thursday to announce the filing of a wage-and-hour lawsuit against the company.
October 25, 2014 |
Gov. Christie on Thursday stood by comments earlier this week - criticized by Democrats - that he was "tired" of efforts to raise the minimum wage. "I'm going to be very clear, and I'll say it again: I do not think parents in this country are sitting around the kitchen table saying to themselves that their lives would be better if their children could only make a higher minimum wage," Christie told reporters during a campaign stop with Republican congressional candidate Tom MacArthur at Mastoris Diner in Bordentown.
October 25, 2014 |
State Rep. Brendan Boyle has made the growing gap between the rich and the rest a fitting centerpiece of his campaign to represent the 13th Congressional District, a mostly middle-class area with pockets of poverty spanning parts of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County. The 37-year-old Philadelphia Democrat advocates raising the minimum wage to help the working poor and increasing taxation of passive income such as stocks and bonds, noting that wage earners pay higher effective rates than investors.
October 3, 2014 |
AS RECENTLY cited in the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Philadelphia is still the "poorest of America's 10 largest cities. " While the report showed that 9,000 residents moved out of poverty last year, and that is encouraging, it's hard to take any comfort when so many of our fellow citizens remain in poverty, many of them children and elderly. Over the last 20 years we have witnessed growth in the gap between the haves and have nots and the squeezing of the middle class.