May 2, 2014 |
FOR A FEW hours yesterday, the ghost of Occupy Philadelphia returned to Center City. A passionate group of activists, some of whom camped out with Occupy two years ago, took up banners, signs and flags at 15th and Market, across from the now-closed Dilworth Plaza, to celebrate the May 1 International Workers Day, a national day of protest. Some wore masks - including one gentleman in a painted Guy Fawkes getup who declined to comment - while others looked as if they had just come from work.
April 21, 2014 |
CRYSTAL LOPEZ, a Dunkin' Donuts employee from Philadelphia, suffers from an eye disorder and says that she will lose her sight without the $100 bottle of eye drops she needs to maintain her vision. It's a purchase she says she struggles to make each month because she has been denied health insurance and can barely cover her bills on $7.25 an hour. Yesterday, she joined 50 students, activists and labor leaders who marched from Rittenhouse Square to Independence Hall to call for an increase in the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. "We're not lowlifes.
April 13, 2014 |
Low-wage workers at Philadelphia International Airport urged Philadelphia voters Friday to approve a question on the May 20 primary ballot that would increase the minimum wage for employees hired by airport subcontractors to $10.88 an hour. The workers, who earn an average of $7.85 an hour, rallied outside the airport's Terminal B carrying signs reading: "Don't leave us behind the Big Apple!" After a heated campaign by airport workers in New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently asked four airlines - American, Delta, JetBlue, and United - at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports to grant an immediate raise of $1 an hour for workers earning less than $9. The raise will be phased-in to $10.10 an hour.
March 29, 2014 |
Three weeks ago, President Obama and Connecticut Gov. Dannell P. Malloy ate lunch at Cafe Beauregard in New Britain, Conn. The restaurant became the setting Thursday night for the governor to sign a law lifting the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from $8.25. That will make the Nutmeg State the first to heed Obama's call to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current national minimum of $7.25. "Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it's also good for business," Malloy said in a statement Wednesday.
March 26, 2014 |
TRENTON An Assembly panel advanced legislation Monday that would increase the minimum wage for New Jersey workers who make most of their money in tips, despite objections from restaurant and beverage industry officials who feared a blow to businesses. The bill would allow employers to claim credits for tips paid to employees, and, in effect, raise hourly wages from $2.13 to $5.93 by late 2015. Supporters note that the wage has not increased in two decades, even as the cost of living has risen.
March 20, 2014
LAST WEEK, President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to revise regulations determining which workers qualify for federal overtime protections, a move that was presented as a way to increase income for some lower-wage workers. It's not. In reality, it's a matter of basic fairness. The issue begins with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established the national minimum wage for most workers and guaranteed overtime pay for more than 40 hours of work a week. But the law also allowed overtime exemptions to be set by the Labor Department, based on the nature of the worker's duties and the worker's salary, the presumption being that higher salaries denoted higher-status administrative workers who did not need the same protections as lower-wage production workers (an arguable point)
March 20, 2014 |
Advocates for increasing the paychecks of low-wage workers held twin rallies in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. In Harrisburg, politicians, religious, community, and labor leaders gathered at the Capitol Media Center to announce a push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25. And in front of a North Philadelphia McDonald's, restaurant workers, activists, and labor officials met to urge the fast-food giant to pay its workers $15 an hour and to not interfere with their joining a union.
March 17, 2014
Fashionable science As an advocate for science education, I was excited to see that once again a woman of science - pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey - was among the honorees for this year's National Women's History Month. It is a reminder that women play a vital role in scientific achievement. But women still lag behind in the science, technology, engineering, and math professions. So this year's observance offers another chance for parents to open the door of scientific curiosity a bit wider for their daughters.
February 22, 2014 |
"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.
January 30, 2014 |
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.