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 30, 2014
ISSUE | PRISON FILE Six who stood up As the mother of one inmate, I thank The Inquirer for its coverage of the six State Correctional Institution at Dallas inmates who blew the whistle on coerced suicide and abuse at the prison in Luzerne County ("Advocates for 6 prisoners in Phila. to seek support," Oct. 25). I also offer this clarification so that readers understand the impossibility of rioting from solitary confinement: Neither then-inmate Derrick Stanley nor any of the other men still confined were outside their solitary-confinement cells.
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 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 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.
October 1, 2014 |
A lunchtime rally at the Delaware County Courthouse on Monday was billed as a fight for increasing the minimum wage, but it took on the character of a Democratic campaign rally, with not a single low-wage earner in sight. State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who has proposed increasing the hourly minimum from the current $7.25 to $12, said the only way to raise the minimum wage is to elect Democrats. "We have 36 days to make this happen," Leach said. Reached before the rally, Andrew Reilly, Delaware County Republican Party chairman, said an increase "would likely hurt the very people proponents are trying to help" as it would end up impacting businesses.