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Responding to Latest Study Warning Against Minimum Wage Hike

MinWagePeople who are huge advocates of higher minimum wages, including me, agree that there could be some employment casualties when the base hourly wage goes up. So, a new study that shows the impact may not be entirely positive for all workers isn't a surprise, but it does need a more up-to-the-minute perspective.

The University of California-San Diego study looks at the effects on employment when the federal minimum wage increased from $5.15 in 2007 to its current $7.25 in 2009. It's bottom line conclusion?

“While the wage distribution of low-skilled workers shifts as intended, the estimated effects on employment, income, and income growth are negative,” writes Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither.

While anti-minimum wage increase proponents are latching on to this conclusion, like other studies, including the Congressional Budget Office report, they have opted to ignore positive counter arguments.

For instance, in the 24 states that required higher base hourly rates than Pennsylvania and federal law, unemployment rates from October 2013 to October 2014 remained the same (Vermont) or declined in 23 states. Alaska was the only state with a higher minimum wage ($7.75 an hour now; $8.75/hour on Jan. 1) and a slightly higher unemployment rate: up 0.2 percent to 6.8 percent.

Rates of unemployment among the less educated and teenagers are statistically higher than for other segments of the workforce, but these are historical realities.

If, as scholars Clemens and Wither concluded, increasing the minimum wage sometimes delivers negative employment consequences, the current trend suggests this is not happening. While anti-minimum wage increase proponents are latching onto this conclusion and other studies, like the Congressional Budget Office report, they have opted to ignore present-day evidence to the contrary.

Walmart Sees the Minimum Wage Light

DollarWalmart finally gave some indication this week of when it plans to pay more money to its minimum wage workers.

In a CBS This Morning interview, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the higher wages could hit paychecks this spring.

Hi-Tech Apprenticeships

TechnologyI am a huge supporter of apprenticeships. Every summer I rally with the Pennsylvania State Building & Construction Trades Council to make sure people know about the union-led opportunities that are out there.

So it was great to see U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announce in Philly yesterday that the Obama administration was approving $100 million in grants for high-tech apprenticeship programs.

One program that could benefit by this great investment in our youth is Philly’s Urban Technology Project.

As Philly reported, the Philadelphia School District-run program is “an apprenticeship for high school grads who choose not to go straight to college.”

Read more here.

CapitolPA General Assembly 2015 Schedule

We now know when state lawmakers will be in Harrisburg as our schedule was released this week.

We reconvene Jan. 6 to open the 2015-2016 legislative session and then return Jan. 20, 21 and 26-28 for doing the people’s business. The rest of the spring session looks like this:

February: 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 25
March: 2, 3 (governor’s budget address)
April: 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22
May: 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13
June: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

State budget hearings are set for March 16 through April 2.

Fair Wage Business of the Week

DanskoAs you bustle through malls in search of the perfect gifts for your loved ones this holiday season, consider buying some of your presents from a company that practices giving, sharing and treating others with kindness and respect all year long.

As a 100% employee-owned company, Dansko was one of the first companies to create and join a worldwide network of businesses that adhere to responsible business practices, including social accountability and environmental sustainability. Supporting a higher minimum wage across the U.S. is only the beginning for Dansko. This company takes great care and pride in its rapport with employees, the ecosystem and the community, while finding time to produce its shoes carried by nearly 3,000 retailers nationwide.

Inspired by the Danish clog during a trip overseas, Dansko co-founders Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup created their shoe company in West Grove, PA, after their clog purchases from Denmark could no longer meet U.S. demand. Today, Dansko is the go-to name brand for stylish and comfortable footwear of all types for men, women and children, alike. Podiatrists often recommend this brand of shoe to patients because it offers excellent foot support, and many fans of this company enjoy the unique style, quality craftsmanship and comfort of Dansko’s shoes.

From its superior civic, humanitarian and environmental work to its outstanding shoe crafting, Dansko leads by example in all that it does.  It deserves our respect and patronage for all the right reasons, and I encourage you to check out its products and explore its creative, entertaining website.