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Labor Parade and Family Day in Philadelphia

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Labor Day is an annual celebration that has marked the great social and economic change the labor movement brought to the American worker. 

After the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York in 1882, steady progress was made in improving economic conditions for America’s middle class.  Today, we are facing the challenge of continuing erosion in those achievements.

A smaller portion of the work force is represented by unions and, therefore, all workers have seen a decline in buying power while the top one percent has seen stunning economic gains.

Standing solid against the political and social forces intent on devaluing workers is the job of every union member and every member of every working family. Please plan to attend The Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO’s 26th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration.

Parade and Family Celebration on Monday, September 2nd.  I will be there for the pre-parade gathering at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 union hall (1301 S. Columbus Blvd at Washington) starting at 8:30.

Taking on the task of many minimum wage workers, I will be serving ice cream at the celebration.  For more on that, click here.

A rally will follow before the parade kicks off for Penn’s Landing at 10:00 AM.  For more information, click here.

Living on a McBudget With Your McPay

When fast food workers began targeting corporate chains for underpaying workers, McDonalds had a reaction that created a quick and embarrassing backlash.

In conjunction with VISA, the giant credit card company, McDonalds issued a suggested budget showing how employees could make ends meet on their McPay.

Problem was, the proposed budget assumed their employees would be working two jobs and paying one-tenth of the national average for health insurance.  According to, the budget also did not factor in costs for child care, groceries, clothing or gas.

While the demand of the fast-food workers is ambitious, a doubling of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the industry’s claim that such wages would drastically increase prices fell under even more scrutiny than the budget claims.

A University of Kansas researcher found that the price of a Big Mac would jump a whopping 67 cents, from $3.99 to $4.67 and dollar-menu items would sell for $1.17.

While the industry has blasted those claims, one economic writer suggests that a big jump in wages would have, in itself, no effect on prices, since prices are set by competition.

Tim Worstall wrote: “If we raise McDonald’s production costs by increasing the wages of the workers, the price isn’t going to change. For it’s not production costs that determine prices: it’s competition that does. Another way to put this is that McDonald’s is already charging us the absolute maximum that it can for its current level of sales. Thus it cannot raise its prices if its production costs go up.”

For the full article, click here.

To find out more about the nationwide fast-food protest movement, click here.

PA Continues to Lag in Job Growth

For a second consecutive month, Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate saw no change in July, remaining at 7.5 percent.

Unemployment rolls increased slightly by roughly 2,200 individuals, with the total number of unemployed persons in the commonwealth standing at just over 492,000. With no progress made on unemployment, the commonwealth’s rate once again slipped above the declining national unemployment rate of 7.4% for July.

Pennsylvania lost approximately 1,700 jobs in July. When these job losses are factored into its year-over-year employment gains, the commonwealth has only added 27,600 jobs since the same time last year, placing Pennsylvania dead last among surrounding states. Among all states, Pennsylvania dropped two spaces over the prior month, falling to 43rd place in job creation.

All of that probably explains these numbers...






Watch Live PA & U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (6/12 - 2/13)