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Labor Report

Legislators, Administration Officials to Host Statewide “Real Jobs Real Pay” Day of Action

Senator Tartaglione will tour a Center City Philadelphia full-service barbershop on May 23 as part of a statewide “Real Jobs Real Pay” day of action highlighting employers who choose to pay their workers fair, family-sustaining wages.

La Barberia – located on the main concourse of Suburban Station at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard – is among many of Pennsylvania’s independently owned businesses that choose to pay wages well above the state’s long-stagnant minimum wage, because higher pay helps workers and is good for business. The senator will join the proprietor and other guests on a tour of the shop and discuss the need to raise the statewide minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The event will start at 1:30 p.m. and be open to the news media.

Legislators, Wolf administration officials, and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host similar events in cities and municipalities throughout the Commonwealth on May 23, including Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Scranton.

Hundreds of Job Seekers Flock to Temple for Single-Day Employment Fair

About 145 employers and 1,300 job candidates flocked to Temple University on May 16 for a single-day job fair presented by the university’s Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative.

With the national unemployment rate at a historic low, many of the job seekers were looking to improve their careers, rather than restart them, according to
“People looking for a better job or relocating to Philadelphia were easier to find at the job fair than people trying to end a period of unemployment,” the news agency reported.

The city’s employment picture isn’t ideal, however. It’s unemployment rate of 4.6% for March was the lowest ever recorded since 1990, when the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing the rate. Yet, the national rate was 3.8% and Pennsylvania’s rate was 3.9% for the same period. The national rate dropped to 3.6% last month.

Philadelphia’s 2018 average unemployment of 5.5% ranked worst among the nation’s 15 largest cities. It was .8% higher than the second-worst, Los Angeles.

New Research: Raising Minimum Wage Helps Millions of PA Workers, Reduces Poverty, Boosts Economy

A new study by the Harrisburg-based Keystone Research Center found that more than 2 million Pennsylvania workers would see a pay increase under a plan proposed by Senator Tartaglione and Governor Wolf to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The legislation would also reduce poverty as well as gender- and race-based wage disparities, the study found.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is also the national minimum of $7.25 an hour. Lawmakers last raised it in 2006. Senator Tartaglione’s Senate Bill 12 would mandate a $12 minimum wage this year, followed by annual increases of 50 cents until it reaches $15 in 2025, after which the minimum wage would be tied to annual cost of living adjustments.

“The report finds that workers across demographic boundaries would benefit,” the KRC stated.

Researchers concluded that a higher minimum wage would result in “more money being injected into our state/local economies. And with annual wage adjustments linked to inflation, Pennsylvania’s workers of the future won’t have to worry about their wages lagging.”

Statistically, nearly 90% of affected workers are aged 20 and older; nearly one in four are parents; more than half (55%) are full-time workers; 41% have at least some college education; and 61% are women. More than four of every 10 women in the Pennsylvania workforce would benefit directly from a $15 minimum wage.

After Janus Ruling, Large Public- Sector Unions Grew in 2018

In a survey of 10 of the nation’s largest public-sector labor unions, Politico found that they reported a combined gain of 132,312 dues-paying members in 2018 and a combined gain in total assets of more than $379 billion, despite new limitations on dues collection imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court last June.

Just one union reported a negative change in assets. The American Federation of Government Employees lost $5 million, representing a 12% reduction. The United Steelworkers gained $118 million (plus 12%), while the United Auto Workers gained $51 million (plus 5%) and the International Operating Engineers gained $53 million (plus 11%). AFSCME, SEIU, and UFCW each reported 15% increases in assets.

“Nearly one year after the Supreme Court dealt public employee unions a severe financial blow in Janus v. AFSCME, a POLITICO review of 10 of the largest found them surprisingly flush,” the news organization reported.

The unions said they lost almost 310,000 “fee payers” during the year, according to the surveyors.

Foreign Workforce Continues to Grow Despite U.S. Immigration Challenges

The share of foreign-born workers in the American labor force rose to a decades-long high in 2018 despite the Trump administration’s restrictive posture toward immigration, according to new Labor Department figures quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

“Foreign-born workers – those not born in the U.S. nor having U.S. citizens as parents – accounted for 17.5% of all U.S. employees in 2018, up from 17.1% in 2017,” the WSJ reported. “The category includes people born abroad who are now U.S. citizens, immigrants, and those in the U.S. temporarily.”

The Journal stated that the foreign-born workforce has been boosted by steady immigration, while the share of native-born workers has declined due to a decline in the U.S. birthrate.

Hispanic workers account for the largest portion of the foreign-born labor force at 47.7%. In 1990, they accounted for more than 50%. In the last 10 years, the Asian-born portion has risen from 22.3% to more than 25%. The foreign-born category includes legal immigrants, refugees, temporary workers, students, and undocumented immigrants. The published information did not specify totals for each sub-category.