Economy

Global...and Pennsylvania...Fight for $15 Still Growing This 4-15

Today is April 15, also known as "4-15."

In 300 cities in 40 countries today fast food workers are driving home the point that "McJobscost us all." Pennsylvania workers in multiple service industries are now very active in the Fight for $15.

For example, nearly 5,00 nursing home workers at 42 nursing facilities in Pennsylvania recently achieved contracts that lift their wages to $15 per hour over time. KRC reports released two days before "4-15" in 2015 and on November 9 made the case for this increase.

Just a couple of weeks ago, UPMC in Pittsburgh announced it will increase wages to $15 per hour as noted in this KRC statement and this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column quoting KRC.

Airport workers in Philadelphia, fast-food workers, security guards and janitors have also been active and achieving victories in the Pennsylvania Fight for $15...with organizing efforts building in home care and child care.

Check out this graphic (also copied below) from the Center for American Progress, which explains how important the "and a union" part of the phrase "Fight for $15 and a union is." You see, $15 per hour in the near term would be a massive gain that drastically expands the number of living-wage jobs. But "and a union" — unions that once again represent at least 35% of the workforce anchored service industries that can't relocate — would make tens of millions of McJobs part of the middle class permanently.

Hats off to the Fight for $15 workers in Pennsylvania and across the country for helping to save America from itself and lighting the fire that eliminate the scourge of inequality from our job market, or political system, our communities, and our schools.

Gov. Wolf Should Veto Hidden Tax Increase That Could Hike Water Rates by Hundreds of Millions

As most readers of this blog know, Pennsylvania just concluded a 2015-16 budget process nine months late because the legislative majority was unwilling to raise enough revenue to begin funding schools more adequately and equitably.

In Memory of Ruth Mathews

Scrolling through my email yesterday morning I came across the sad news that Ruth Mathews (later McGrath) had passed away. Reading her obituary brought tears to my eyes -- good, rich tears.

Senator from York Predicts a Recession

If you were getting bored by the never ending budget process, a flurry of colorful metaphors by “Fightin” Sen. Scott Wagner of York County added a more circus like element to the standoff. I just wanted to highlight an interesting argument in the Senator’s letter to Capitolwire about the current state of the economy. According to the Senator:

Maybe the Left Hand of Pew Trust Needs to Talk to the Right Hand...

The Patriot-News yesterday highlighted a new report by the Pew Trust which finds that the middle class is shrinking. That’s interesting, especially given that, another part of Pew has been advocating for several years with former Enron billionaire John Arnold for policies that would further undermine the middle class. (Check on this link for one perspective on Arnold and Pew.)

October Payrolls Up Overall but Down in Mining, Logging and Schools

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was down slightly to 5.1 percent, and nonfarm payrolls were up by 13,700 jobs last month, each from their respective September levels.

After two months of declines in nonfarm payrolls, the return to growth in October was  a welcome change.

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