April 21, 2016
By Dan White Pennsylvania, like most of the United States, has a problem. Paychecks have not come back from the Great Recession as strongly as they have following other downturns. American workers' wages and salaries took longer to regain their previous, inflation-adjusted peaks after the Great Recession than after any other recession since World War II. This is especially true in the commonwealth, where wages and salaries grew less than three-quarters of the national rate last year.
April 16, 2016 |
It couldn't have been a nicer day for a protest Thursday, as activists - fast-food and home health workers seeking a raise, the Sierra Club, Temple students opposing a stadium, and community people against stop-and-frisk, - marched down Broad Street, banging drums, carrying banners, and shouting slogans. "This is what democracy looks like," hundreds yelled as they walked toward the day's largest rally, at Broad and Arch Streets. Police closed Broad Street. Among those leading the parade was Shymara Jones, 23, of Philadelphia, a Popeyes employee who has been pushing for a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers since the national movement kicked off in Philadelphia two years ago. She earns $8.25 an hour, up from $7.25, Pennsylvania's minimum wage, mirroring the national rate.
April 6, 2016
ISSUE | MINIMUM WAGE A boost for Pa. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry sheds crocodile tears for low-wage workers every time the minimum wage comes up ("Raises will cost jobs," Thursday). Studies have found that there is no negative impact on jobs following modest increases in the minimum wage; the Congressional Budget Office estimates a range of "a very slight reduction" to one million jobs lost nationally with a minimum-wage increase to $10.10 an hour. However, such an increase would mean: More than 1.2 million workers in Pennsylvania would receive raises; $1.9 billion in new wages would go into the state economy; $225 million in new revenues would be generated for the state budget, which is in great need of funds to support our schools and close massive deficits.
March 24, 2016 |
Even as the job market tightens and unemployment declines, the recent recession has yet another blow to deliver to the labor economy - one that may not be felt for several years. "We may not be able to provide a good number of jobs for highly skilled people," said economist Efua Afful at Moody's Analytics in West Chester. That is because research-and-development investment, which leads to innovation and employment for highly skilled workers, plummeted during the recession and has yet to rebound, she said.
March 23, 2016
ISSUE | RIDE-SHARING Creative destruction Ride-sharing companies like Uber are similar to direct marketing companies like Avon. Their "representatives" (in this case drivers) are self-employed individuals who earn commissions based entirely on how many hours they freely choose to work; they are not employees. To talk about their having the right to join a union or be paid a minimum wage is absurd. Most drivers treat ride-sharing as part-time work to supplement their income and may also enjoy the social contact and fun of doing something entirely different.
March 22, 2016
ISSUE | MINIMUM WAGE Increases are needed The Jewish Social Policy Action Network applauds Gov. Wolf for increasing the minimum wage of state workers and those on contract with the state to $10.15 an hour ("Wolf raises state workers' minimum wage," March 8). An across-the-board increase for all workers in the state would be even more laudable. Even $10.15 is inadequate. In a 40-hour workweek, gross salaries would top out at $406 a week. A 2014 survey by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that minimum-wage workers in Pennsylvania (making $7.25 an hour)
March 22, 2016
The public outcry 11 years ago after Pennsylvania legislators met to give themselves a pay raise in the dead of night included complaints that the state's minimum wage had not been raised since 1995. Ironically, 1995 was also when legislators voted to give themselves annual cost-of-living increases, which have helped boost their current salaries to $85,340 annually. That's about $32,000 above the median income in the state and more than five times what minimum-wage workers are paid.
March 16, 2016
ISSUE | RIDE-SHARING Leaders, shun Uber Consider how many of Philadelphia's progressive Democrtats and elected officials oppose discriminatory practices, want companies to pay at least the minimum wage, believe multinational corporations have too much power, and support the right of collective bargaining for wages and benefits. Then consider how many of those people support the ride-sharing services UberX, Uber Pool, and Lyft. Here are some facts about Uber and Lyft: They are multinational corporations.
March 11, 2016
NOT MANY would ever accuse Pennsylvania of being a progressive state - either politically or practically. On measures such as funding for education, safety-net spending, tax policy and other points, we often end up in the bottom half of national lists. But this week, Gov. Wolf signed an executive order to increase the minimum wage for state workers from the state minimum of $7.25 to $10.15 an hour. This is progress, plain and simple. Predictably, some Republican lawmakers and conservative thinkers criticized the move, saying that the state can't afford the price tag for moving people from $7.25-an-hour poverty wages.