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Labor Report

Dip in Unemployment Pool

From 5.3 to 5.1 percent is the October performance of Pennsylvania’s jobless ranks. Another 13,700 new jobs tacked on to total employment for the commonwealth while 8,614 came off unemployment lines. Our civilian labor force is now at 6.415 million, and 5.86 million Pennsylvanians are collecting paychecks.

The October jobless count is about where we were in 2015 (5.2 percent). Compared to our neighboring states, the commonwealth is now tied for third place with Delaware and Maryland. Ohio, with a higher minimum wage, is at 4.4 percent. New York, with a higher minimum wage, is second at 4.8 percent.

Since Gov. Tom Wolf has been in office, Pennsylvania has added 50,000 jobs to its labor force.

To Tip or Not To Tip

serverYou go out to eat. You tip. In Pennsylvania, restaurant owners are required by law to pay a paltry $2.83 an hour to their waiters and waitresses for their work. $2.83! Tippers are supposed to make up the difference between slave-labor wages and a living wage. Some waiters do better, some do worse.

Should restaurants eliminate tipping?

There are restaurants that are experimenting with doing just that. But not every restaurant is doing it the same way. Some are increasing their menu prices to ensure a fairer wage for their wait staffs.

Take a look at Joe’s Crab Shack, through the reporting of’s Sue Gleiter:

“Joe's Crab Shack said to compensate the difference it will increase menu prices. The difference will be less than the standard 20 percent tip. Servers will be paid around $12 to $14 an hour, up from the federal hourly standard of $2.13 an hour,” Gleiter has reported.

I believe tipping should be up to the individual restaurant, and I also believe restaurants should pay a higher tipped minimum wage.

My Senate Bill 196 would jump the minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, which I think is the responsible and fair course of action.

Labor Corner

No commentary here, just some minimum wage and labor-related news from the week that I wanted to share:

Ford Union Workers Ratify New 4-Year Labor Pact

Labor Costs to Skyrocket for American Cars

Labor Law Is Failing Us. It's Time To Push for a New Labor Act

21 Organizations Fighting for Labor Rights in the Food System

Maximizing the minimum wage

Turkey & Work

I focus on people who are working and not working in this Labor Report. I want to share what others are saying and express some of my own opinions while listening to yours.

With Thanksgiving nearly here, I want to ask you to breathe a little this week, reflect on all that you have (even if you are not working) and all that awaits.

If you are relying on unemployment compensation to get you through this and other holidays, remember that state operations will be a little different Thursday and Friday. Read the update HERE.

Essentially, if you do most of your UC work online, you’ll be fine.

Give thanks for what you have and the experiences you’ve had. What you are today is not what you will be tomorrow. Get back out there and make a positive difference.

Happy Thanksgiving!