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Labor Report

Upping the Minimum Wage PressureWage

You know about my minimum wage proposals – including one that ups the rate from $7.25 to $10.10 by January 1, and one that moves the tipped minimum to 70 percent of that regular base hourly rate – and you no doubt know that other state lawmakers have proposed their own designs on how Pennsylvania’s minimum should be increased.

So far, none of them have received an ounce of consideration in Harrisburg while the rest of the country has raised the minimum wage to not just a hot-button issue but a presidential one.

But that’s going to change because the Senate Labor and Industry Committee is planning a hearing during the morning of May 5, and I am planning to amplify our push to increase the minimum during a press conference that afternoon.

I’ll talk about my minimum wage bills during the press conference and I’ll be joined by others who will also explain why the base hourly rate needs to move higher.

Once again to the critics who suggest paying frontline workers more will somehow hurt employers and local economies – higher minimum wages have never done that and the latest studies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at Cal-Berkeley prove it:

“Businesses, they found, absorbed the costs through lower job turnover, small price increases, and higher productivity,” Mother Jones reported.

Sounds kind of like an echo, does it not?

One other important fact in this debate, which was editorialized today by the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that people who are working frontline jobs are also receiving welfare – because they are required by law to work if they want the government's support.

“A study by the University of California, Berkeley, showed that 56 percent of federal and state dollars spent on TANF, Medicaid, food stamps, and the earned income tax credit goes to working families and individuals. Fast-food workers are prominent among them, but welfare recipients also include part-time college faculty, which sends a terrible message about the value of education,” the Inquirer editorial board wrote.

Supporters of a better minimum wage have been arguing this point, too, for a long time. “Working poor” means a greater dependence on taxpayers.

Let’s cut through the clutter and bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century with a more-just minimum wage.

Labor News of NoteWorker

  • Bloomberg is taking issue with new U.S. Department of Labor rules that seek to protect unsuspecting consumers who want to invest for retirement. I disagree with Bloomberg, of course. It’s still hard to imagine how some work very hard to defend dishonesty and the unfair status quo.

Still, there is some good info about Labor’s decisions, and the linked article will help you defend against the naysayers who just want to keep things the same.

This is an important story because not even Democrats and labor are in agreement on what should happen, as the AP reported this morning:

“But some Democrats and labor unions say such measures facilitate agreements that wind up destroying jobs in the U.S. and creating jobs in nations that lack the environmental and worker safety protections that exist in the United States.”

  • In what may be good news, finally, for unions, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that business lawyers are getting calls from companies worried about the new National Labor Relations rule dealing with union-organizing elections.

Fair Wage Business of the WeekMaser

If you’re experiencing a great deal of stress these days, look no further than Christina Maser – a member of Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage and Pennsylvania Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage – to calm your mind, body and soul. 

Based in Lancaster, Christina Maser’s line of food, candle and bath and body products are as commonsense as the company’s support for minimum wage increases in Pennsylvania and the entire nation.  At Christina Maser, everything sold by the company is natural, local and ecological. Inspired by fresh, homegrown foods, this is a company with a progressive mind and an organic heart.

From lightly scented soy candles and room sprays that will erase your worries, to jams that will fill your belly, Christina Maser’s product lines celebrate the abandonment of chemicals, additives and overflowing landfills.

I encourage you to explore this good-intentioned company’s products and see how they speak to your inner spirit.  If Lancaster is too far from home, visit and view or purchase Christina Maser items, if you choose. 

Interested in joining the growing network of businesses belonging to Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage and Pennsylvania Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage?  Click on the links below to sign-up.