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Minimum Wage

NEWS
February 22, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
"Pete's Tax" has proved costly. Chickie's & Pete's, the Philadelphia sports bar and restaurant chain, has agreed to pay $8.52 million in back wages and damages to employees for illegally docking a portion of their tips and failing to properly pay minimum wage, overtime, and other required income. Of that amount, $6.8 million is to be paid to 1,159 past and present employees to resolve an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department. The remaining $1.68 million is to settle federal lawsuits by about 90 current and former employees.
NEWS
January 30, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Obama's call to raise the minimum wage brought cheers Tuesday from local Democrats in Congress, but a mixed reaction from Philadelphia-area Republicans in what was likely a preview of the debate that will play out in heated campaigns this fall. Obama used part of his State of the Union speech to urge Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour as part of a sweeping mission to level the economic playing field, though the idea seems unlikely to gain traction.
NEWS
January 30, 2014 | BY WILL BUNCH, Daily News Staff Writer bunchw@phillynews.com, 215-854-2957
PRESIDENT OBAMA: action hero, or bad actor? More than five years after becoming America's 44th president, Obama declared in his State of the Union address last night that his sixth, 2014, would be a "year of action. " His proclamation was born partly from resolve to tackle the rising gap between America's rich and poor but mainly from his frustration over getting anything done in gridlocked Washington. The president told Americans in the just-over-an-hour televised address that his political weapon of choice would be the pen - that during the next 12 months he would sign executive orders as a way to address some of the country's many vexing problems.
NEWS
January 23, 2014 | By Seth Zweifler, Inquirer Staff Writer
A week before President Obama is to deliver his State of the Union address, Sen. Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania is joining a growing chorus of Democratic legislators calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. In a wide-ranging conference call with reporters Tuesday that focused on income inequality, Casey reiterated his support for the Fair Minimum Wage Act, a bill introduced last year that he cosponsored. Supported by Obama and other Democrats, the bill would raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25.
NEWS
January 20, 2014 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
While workers trimmed peach trees at his Mullica Hill farm this month, Tom Holtzhauser was reluctantly mulling trims of another kind - to his workforce. His labor costs will soar after the November passage of the constitutional amendment raising the state's minimum wage $1 to $8.25 an hour and implementing annual cost-of-living adjustments that could increase it even more. The new cost, he said, puts him at a competitive disadvantage with out-of-state farmers who pay the federal minimum of $7.25 and no yearly adjustments.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2014 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania will keep its minimum wage the lowest among large Northeastern states, if the commonwealth's leading business lobby gets its way. Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, liked my use of the phrase "brute force" to describe the role of government in trying to use a higher minimum wage to spread a little prosperity. But that's about all the chamber chief liked in my Dec. 22 column noting some politicians here want to copy Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and other adjoining states that have started boosting base pay significantly above the federal $7.25 an hour.
NEWS
January 2, 2014 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Effective Wednesday, New Jersey's minimum wage will rise by $1 to $8.25 an hour, boosting the paychecks of more than 250,000 New Jerseyans and bumping up costs for businesses with low-wage workers. While the wage increase is immediate, the reaction by businesses may take longer to assess - especially in light of the automatic annual increases voters approved in November, guaranteeing minimum-wage workers future raises. Businesses will "over time decide how they're going to deal with it," said Thomas Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
BUSINESS
December 25, 2013 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury saved the banks, corporations are pocketing record profits, rich investors are getting richer. But most Americans aren't sharing that wealth. Average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, are stuck at 1970s levels, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Retail and home sales are still slow. How will we grow our way out of this slump? More states are pushing for an alternative method to boost wages: brute force. Which is to say, higher minimum wages.
NEWS
November 8, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON A day after voters said yes to raising the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, along with automatic cost-of-living increases, supporters cheered the measure's passage Wednesday, with Senate President Stephen Sweeney blasting business groups for opposing it. "This is about helping the working poor make a better life for themselves," Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said Wednesday morning at a news conference in the basement of a church in Trenton, his first stop during a day of celebrating Democratic wins and the party's retaining control of the Legislature.
NEWS
November 7, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
New Jersey voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday to raise the state's minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 an hour, with annual cost-of-living increases. New Jersey joins 18 states and the District of Columbia that have minimum wages higher than the federal level. The state is the 11th to tie future increases to cost of living, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal-leaning think tank. The provision guaranteeing automatic increases tied to the Consumer Price Index "will ensure that New Jersey's low-wage workers don't fall even further behind," said NJPP president Gordon McInnes.
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