January 21, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The halls of the Capitol were dark Monday, and most offices were locked. The only signs inside of a looming change were bags of shredded paper. Outside, workers readied grandstands. At noon Tuesday, Democrat Tom Wolf, the York businessman and former state revenue secretary, will become the state's 47th governor. He arrives facing a projected $2.3 billion budget shortfall and a Republican-dominated legislature that has shown no signs it will quickly embrace his priorities.
January 2, 2015 |
Even as New Jersey prepares to raise its minimum wage by 13 cents, economists and business groups are still sorting out the impact of the $1 hike in 2014. Groups that opposed last year's increase to $8.25 argue that the extent of its harm cannot yet be determined - in part because the wage will keep rising. A boost to $8.38 takes effect on New Year's Day, thanks to a now-automatic annual cost-of-living adjustment that voters approved in 2013. Those in favor of the higher wage say it appears to have done little damage to the state's economy - and has possibly benefited it, with low-income workers believed to be spending the extra money in their paychecks.
December 13, 2014 |
In its final scheduled meeting of 2014, Philadelphia City Council focused on a flurry of measures to aid the city's blue-collar workers, including a past failed proposal - mandatory paid sick leave - and a new and controversial one calling for a citywide minimum wage. Council also approved legislation to support workers at Philadelphia International Airport, where contract staff staged a walkout last month. More than a dozen airport employees in red shirts packed the Council chamber Thursday, joined by another group advocating a minimum wage.
December 11, 2014
ISSUE | FERGUSON, MO. Call for backup Since when is the absolute guarantee of a conviction the basis for deciding whether to charge an individual with a crime ("Close read shows the Ferguson grand jury got it right," Dec. 7)? That would seem to be Currents columnist Michael Smerconish's conclusion in defending the prosecutor's decision not to bring charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, but it skirts the very issue Smerconish portends to address.
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 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.