January 3, 2016 |
A fee on shopping bags. Security cameras outside every bar. A ban on cigarette sales at city pharmacies. All were proposed by Philadelphia City Council members last year, but none saw a Council vote. Two were shelved without a hearing. Dozens of bills face the same fate each year. And every four years, at the end of a term, all that leftover legislation is gathered, stamped lapsed, and buried. But this graveyard of bills, which this week will get an influx of new markers, may not be a final resting place for every proposal.
November 26, 2015 |
As travelers pass through airports on their way to visit their families this Thanksgiving, they should take note of the people pushing grandma's wheelchair, loading dad's golf clubs, or quietly mopping the terminal. These are some of the people who have been bypassed by a recovering economy. They suffer disproportionately from stagnant wages that have about 5 percent less buying power than they did five years ago. They are struggling to feed and shelter their families on wages that put them at or near the poverty line.
November 16, 2015 |
Rain spits down, clouds obscure William Penn atop City Hall, and on this damp fall day no one is sure where Katie McGinty is supposed to go. Labor unions, liberal activists, and fast-food workers plan to rally to boost the minimum wage to $15, and McGinty, running for the U.S. Senate, is eager to add her voice to the cause. But the event is off to a choppy start. It's running late. When a crowd of purple-clad SEIU workers finally arrives, McGinty greets them with a smile locked in place, teeth showing.
November 12, 2015 |
Holding a microphone, Shymara Jones, a fast-food worker at Popeyes, had a message for the politicians. "We have to make sure our state representatives are talking about $15 an hour," Jones, 22, of Philadelphia, said at a rainy rally outside City Hall. "This is what they need to be talking about 24/7 if they want our vote. " Dubbing it a fast-food "strike," more than 100 restaurant workers in Philadelphia and many more around the nation on Tuesday held rallies, protests, and marches, seeking a $15-an-hour minimum wage, a union, and political power.
November 6, 2015 |
Tens of thousands of times a week, according to one study, employers steal money from low-wage workers in Philadelphia. They fail to compensate them for overtime, pay them less than the minimum wage, undercount their hours, withhold their tips, or don't pay them at all. A Temple University study estimated that there are about 90,000 incidents of wage theft in the city every week, costing victims $51 to $87. That's less money for rent, food, and...
October 13, 2015 |
Correction: Quotes attributed to Kati Sipp in the original version were actually from Kate Goodman, an organizer for 15Now. Safiyyah Cotton earns a lousy $7.50 an hour working at a McDonald's in North Philadelphia. Chump change. Yeah, I know it's McDonald's. But it's not as if Cotton is some teenager still living at home with parents who pay for everything. She's a 22-year-old single mother taking care of both herself and her young son. And get this: She usually only works about 20 hours a week.
October 12, 2015
ISSUE | MINIMUM WAGE We need $15 an hour As a fast-food worker, I wake up each day with thoughts I'm sure many other underpaid workers share: "Can I pay the electricity bill this month?" and "Will there be enough food?" Because of this low-wage crisis, hundreds of Philadelphia workers like me told their stories about what it's like to survive on less than $15 an hour at a session of the "people's wage board" last week. The wage board was organized by the Fight For $15 Philadelphia and Pittsburgh fast-food workers, along with community partners and allies.
October 9, 2015 |
CITY Councilman Bill Greenlee yesterday introduced legislation that would create a new city position of wage-theft coordinator to review and adjudicate employee complaints and to fine employers found to have broken the law. During the average week in Philadelphia, 36,400 low-wage workers are not paid minimum wage, 29,500 are not paid for all the overtime they are due and 28,200 aren't paid for off-the-clock work, according to a report from the...
August 28, 2015
THE FEDERAL COURT of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor does indeed have the authority to extend federal wage and hour laws to the nation's 2 million home-care aides. In Pennsylvania, this decision means that 125,000 home care aides will now be subject to federal labor protections, including guaranteed minimum wage, overtime pay and compensation for travel between clients. Though Pennsylvania already guarantees state minimum wage and time and a half for overtime for its home-care workforce, compensation for travel time is a significant change.
August 15, 2015
ISSUE | STATE STORES Save a buck in Pa. Some time ago, I compared the prices of 12 bottles of good wine available in State Stores and then looked in shops in Maryland and New Jersey, and I came to this conclusion: If you want less selection and higher prices, you'll be in favor of privatizing the state's liquor monopoly. As the single largest purchaser of wine in the country, Pennsylvania can and does offer lower prices and a wider selection than some private stores. We'd be foolish to privatize.