November 5, 2013 |
Increasing New Jersey's minimum wage now and through annual cost-of-living raises will help workers and boost the economy. Or it will force businesses to increase prices and cut hours, hurting consumers and workers. Through radio ads, pamphlets, and news conferences, dueling campaigns are trying to reach voters about a ballot question that would amend the state constitution to increase the minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index. Voters will decide the measure Tuesday.
November 3, 2013 |
Tuesday's election pits freshman Republican incumbents against novice Democratic challengers with no elective experience in the Eighth Legislative District, which spans 15 municipalities in Burlington County, four in Camden County, and Hammonton in Atlantic County. Party registration and the 2011 legislative election results suggest that the district leans Democratic. Candidates on both sides cite jobs and taxes as the issues voters care about most. Republican Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego, an Evesham lawyer and former Burlington County freeholder and assemblywoman, says she stands a good chance of winning a second Senate term because she is pro-business, and "we work hard for our constituents.
October 21, 2013 |
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.
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.
September 20, 2013 |
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.
September 19, 2013 |
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.
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.
September 3, 2013 |
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.
September 2, 2013 |
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.
September 2, 2013 |
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.