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Minimum Wage

NEWS
October 21, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Ben and Sharneka Hunter are a fast-food family. The Wilmington husband and wife work at Burger Kings in different cities - Ben, 43, in Wilmington, Sharneka, 30, in New Castle. Both earn hourly minimum-wage salaries of $7.25. And both need food stamps and Medicaid to augment their combined $17,000 yearly salary - $2,500 under the federal poverty line - so that they and their 9-year-old daughter can survive. "I don't think it's fair to be underpaid," Ben said. The Hunters' plight is shared nationwide, according to a report released last week by the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
NEWS
October 8, 2013
With new census figures showing low- and middle-income workers continue to lose ground, lawmakers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are taking steps to boost the lowest wages. Though legislation vetoed by Gov. Christie would have been preferable, polls show New Jersey voters are likely to approve a constitutional amendment raising the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour and hitching it to the consumer price index. And Philadelphia voters may soon get a chance to raise the wages of city subcontractors.
NEWS
September 20, 2013 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer ransomj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
A CITY COUNCIL committee approved legislation yesterday proposing an amendment to the city charter that would extend the city's living-wage requirements to subcontractors of city contracts and other firms receiving public money. The proposal, sponsored by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., would require subcontractors to pay a minimum of $10.88 an hour, the rate set by the city in 2007 for direct contractors. Onetha McKnight told the committee that she works for a Nashville-based subcontractor as a wheelchair attendant at Philadelphia International Airport.
NEWS
September 19, 2013 | BY CHRIS BRENNAN, Daily News Staff Writer brennac@phillynews.com, 215-854-5973
STATE SENS. Tina Tartaglione and Vincent Hughes tried to rally support yesterday for legislation to increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania from $7.25 to $9 per hour by 2015. The Philadelphia Democrats insisted that the proposal is not dead-on-arrival in a Republican- controlled General Assembly that rejected a similar effort two years ago. Tartaglione cited legislation she successfully pushed in 2006 to raise the state minimum wage to $7.15 in 2007. "Little by little, we were able to change the mind-set of folks," Tartaglione said.
NEWS
September 6, 2013
AFTER Terrance Wise walked off the job to protest his pay a few weeks ago, he was offered a promotion and a raise. He could have moved up to a manager's role at his Burger King, one of two fast-food jobs he works, Wise said. The promotion would have come with a measly 20-cents-an-hour raise, bringing his hourly pay to $9.45. Wise turned down the offer. Last Thursday, the father of three skipped work again and joined more than 300 fast-food workers and their supporters in rallies and marches at different locations around Kansas City and in 60 cities around the country, calling for better pay and benefits.
NEWS
September 3, 2013 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
  On Labor Day - and every day - everyone wants a raise. So on Thursday, fast-food workers in Wilmington and around the nation went on strike for $15-an-hour pay. A week ago, advocates gathered in New Jersey to rally in support of passing the state's minimum-wage referendum. And on Monday, Labor Day, Philadelphia skycaps will march in the city's Labor Day parade after restaurant workers dish out ice cream, both promoting a push for higher wages. These campaigns also provide a glimpse of what is either labor's future strategy, or its back-to-the-future strategy, at a time when unions are increasingly marginalized.
NEWS
September 2, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Some top Democrats on Friday called for an increase in New Jersey's minimum wage and warned that a Republican takeover in November's elections could transform the state into a so-called right-to-work state. "Elections have very, very serious consequences," state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) told a gathering of more than 100 Democrats and union leaders at the 119th annual Peter J. McGuire Labor Day Observance in Collingswood. He noted that Gov. Christie has vetoed measures to tie the minimum wage to the consumer price index, fund women's health care, and legalize same-sex marriage.
BUSINESS
September 2, 2013 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
As strikes go, this one was more symbol than shutdown. The Burger King on U.S. 202 in Wilmington, in my neighborhood, was one of the fast-food outlets hit by a national mini-walkout and picketing backed by the Service Employees International Union . SEIU held a pre-Labor Day "action," pushing for higher wages for the army of workers who pack and sell fast-food sandwiches, drinks, fries, and snacks in factory-like conditions. The strikers want to double the minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, as my colleague Jane Von Bergen reported.
NEWS
September 2, 2013 | By Michael Campbell, For The Inquirer
Will low-income Pennsylvanians be tempted to overstate their income to the IRS in order to afford health insurance? The state's rejection of Medicaid expansion for its poorest citizens creates this perverse incentive. The Affordable Care Act was set up to provide free Medicaid to more poor Americans. It also offers premium subsidies on a sliding scale for the uninsured with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. These subsidies are tax credits the IRS will pay in advance to health insurers for qualifying individuals.
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