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NEWS
October 1, 2014 | By Joe Dolinsky and Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writers
A Philadelphia Zoo employee was killed Monday morning after a golf cart apparently fell on him, police said. Zoo communications director Dana Lombardo said the man, whose identity authorities have not disclosed, was 59 and had been a mechanic for 14 years. His duties included working on the zoo's fleet of golf carts. It was unclear to police and zoo officials how the cart ended up on top of the mechanic. "Basically, we had a really traumatic incident happen here this morning," Lombardo said.
BUSINESS
September 26, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
A SEPTA janitorial worker and the transit agency are fighting over the worker's dismissal for refusing to work on holy days, including Rosh Hashanah. Romel McAlpin of Germantown was fired last year by SEPTA for refusing to work on Rosh Hashanah and Oct. 12, his Sabbath. McAlpin, according to legal documents, is an adherent of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, a sect that observes Jewish holy days and marks the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. McAlpin, a maintenance custodian in subway tunnels, notified SEPTA of his religious beliefs shortly after he was hired in May 2012, according to a legal brief filed by Transport Workers Union Local 234. SEPTA permitted McAlpin to trade days off with other workers to accommodate his beliefs, but only with workers with less seniority, citing seniority clauses in its union contract.
NEWS
September 24, 2014 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nearly half of what Pennsylvania's workers' compensation program pays for prescription drugs goes to physicians who dispense them directly to patients, bypassing pharmacies, a lucrative practice that is limited by many states and not reimbursed at all by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, according to a new report. Although few doctors take advantage of the loophole, the cost differential can be enormous. A single Percocet cost an average 64 cents at a pharmacy last year, the Workers Compensation Research Institute reported Monday, vs. $3.55 when dispensed by a physician.
NEWS
September 21, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane must decide whether to make public e-mails of current and former state employees - some sent over state-owned computers and accounts - that purportedly contain pornographic images, jokes, cartoons, and other private messages. A state judge lifted a stay Friday that prevented release of the material that Kane discovered during her review of her predecessors' handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse case. Renee Martin, a spokeswoman for Kane, said Friday that the office was reviewing the order by Cambria County Court Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III and would decide soon.
NEWS
September 20, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
Claiming that the company managing Camden County College's facilities maintenance and custodial care has failed to do its job, representatives from the faculty and staff union asked the county freeholders Thursday to rehire employees who were laid off. "The place is filthy, there are so many bad things that are going to happen," said Dawn Gaff Merlino, who was laid off from her custodial job. The first speaker during the public-comment session of...
BUSINESS
September 19, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
On the eve of a contentious City Council debate about the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works, the utility's prospective buyer reached out directly to PGW employees on Wednesday to reassure a worried workforce about its benefits package. "Much has been said and written about the proposed sale, and I thought this would be a good time to clarify compensation and benefits," James P. Torgerson, chief executive of UIL Holdings Corp. of Connecticut, wrote to PGW's 1,650 employees. Torgerson's letter outlines benefits it would maintain for non-union PGW employees if its $1.86 billion purchase goes through.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2014 | By Franziska Holzschuh, Inquirer Staff Writer
When the Pennsylvania subsidiary of the German company Aerzen became a competence center for its new line of turbo blowers, one problem emerged: Its Coatesville workers could not do the job, as it required training in not only machine assembly but electromechanical assemblies. There was a skills gap. "The fundamental theoretical knowledge is often missing," said Ralf Weiser, Aerzen's manager for inside sales and project management. "In the U.S., many things are just learned by on-the-job training.
NEWS
September 11, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
WITH 95.5 percent of the vote tallied, District Council 33 of AFSCME, which represents the city's blue-collar workers, yesterday overwhelmingly ratified the contract negotiated with Mayor Nutter. Union members voted 4,492 in favor to 213 opposed. The union, with more than 10,000 members, had gone more than five years without a contract. Details of the deal include a $2,800 signing bonus and a 3.5 percent raise, effective Sept. 1. Members will also get an additional 2.5 percent raise on July 1. In exchange, the union made concessions long sought by Nutter on health care, work rules and pensions.
NEWS
September 7, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
WHEN YOU WORK within the system, you apparently learn how to exploit it. Three Social Security Administration employees are at the center of a massive fraud scheme that netted over $76,000 in welfare benefits, said Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office. Sakeenah Belle, 31, Chanae Thomas, 31, and Felicia Fernandez, 30, are accused of using their positions with the SSA to submit false documents that underreported their annual incomes and allowed them to gain eligibility for welfare benefits, medical assistance and subsidized child care, Jamerson said.
BUSINESS
September 5, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
  ATLANTIC CITY - Onegdu Gomez was among the 850 newly out-of-work casino workers who came Wednesday morning to the opening of the Atlantic City Unite Here Center at the Atlantic City Convention Center. She left as pleased as she could be, given that she had lost her job three days ago. "They fixed everything," Gomez, who lives in Pleasantville, said of her experience signing up for unemployment benefits. She worked as a housekeeper at Showboat for eight years and said she intended to look for another job in the same field.
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