Subscribe to E-Update here.
Labor Report

Minimum Wage, By County

Two important points to be made today about our efforts this week to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage:Check

  • Wednesday’s press conference with the Keystone Research Council and Raise the Wage PA was well done and very helpful to this effort, and
  • The so-called “Washington think-tank” that spoke out against KRC’s study is a puppet for corporations that are anti-minimum wage increase.

On the press conference, KRC’s study found that workers in every Pennsylvania county will benefit from a $10.10 minimum wage – and benefit much more than the Republican proposal to only offer one 50-cent/hour increase over each of the next three years.

KRC also determined that upping the state’s $7.25 minimum by $2.85 will deliver an economic stimulus of about $2 billion.

Here’s KRC’s study.

Here’s my press release.

As for the “think-tank?” Employment Policies Institute is a front for a lobbyist who has earned scorn and rebuke throughout America for his defense of industries that don’t want government to get rid of transfats, be too tough on drunk driving, or overregulate tobacco.

In other words, if you’re for it, Richard Berman’s groups will probably be against it.

How so many newspapers included EPI’s pap in this week’s press conference story is baffling and frustrating. Simple digging would have proven that EPI will say the exact opposite or exaggerate affects if they’re paid to say it.

History is the only real thing we need to tell us that raising the minimum wage will not create the harm EPI alleges. But Berman’s EPI is into scare tactics and falsehoods. Don’t believe it.

The most current factoid proves what I’m saying: When it comes to job creation, more than half of the top 15 performing states have raised their minimum wage rates above $7.25.

Minimum Wage/Maximum Impact

SignYou’ve not heard me talk about making the minimum wage $15 an hour, but you have heard or read about me spotlighting companies that are voluntarily paying much more than the minimum. These companies have paid attention – and realized for themselves – that the working poor are right about their plight.

So it was very interesting to read The New York Times story about a Seattle company called Gravity Payments.

Gravity CEO isn’t talking $10.10 an hour or $15 an hour, he’s talking $33.65 an hour!

“When Dan Price announced last week that he would cut his own pay and profits to make it possible to raise the minimum wage at Gravity Payments, his credit card processing company in Seattle, to a hefty $70,000 a year, he had little idea of the whirlwind it would stir,” the New York Times reported.

Of course, the naysayers came out to cast their usual scorn on a private company’s intentions, but that’s to be expected.

The underlying theme is positive, I think. The C-Suite doesn’t have to take home gigantic salaries and all of the profits their “little workers” made possible for them. Thankfully, some CEOs, like Dan Price, are starting to understand that.

After all, it used to be this way in America. Profits were shared. Salaries, even hourly rates, were proportionately better.

CareShameful Reality of Ignored OT Law

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said this week that Pennsylvania has failed to deliver the oversight for a five-year-old law that was proposed by me so that hospitals and other healthcare facilities would stop forcing mandatory overtime.

His auditors concluded that the Department of Labor and Industry woefully missed deadlines for establishing the new regulations and that it was not a priority to do so.

Read my thoughts on this troubling reality, here.

Unemployment Pulse

HelpIf there’s anything positive to be said about national and state unemployment rates that are ticking northward, it’s this: higher jobless percentages mean it’s less likely interest rates will be go up.

Pennsylvania’s March unemployment rate went to 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent while the U.S. jobless pulse is tickling 5.5 percent.

More out-of-work Americans applied for unemployment benefits this week, according to the Labor Department. Economists, however, aren’t sounding too worried about this three-week trend.

“Claims tend to be volatile around this time of the year because moving holidays like Easter and school spring breaks often throw off the model that the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations,” Reuters reported on Thursday.

In the commonwealth, our 5.3 percent unemployment rate is 24th in the country. Considering our neighbors, only Delaware (4.6 percent) and Ohio (5.1) have been employment pictures. However, we’re only ahead of West Virginia when it comes to state employment growth. And, as I said earlier in the newsletter, 24 states with higher minimum wage rates than Pennsylvania are enjoying better job growth percentages than us.

Fair Wage Business of the WeekMOM's

As you may know, April 22, 2015 was Earth Day—a day dedicated to respecting, honoring and showing appreciation for the environment. In keeping up with this theme, the business being featured this week is Mom’s Organic Market. Not only a steward of the planet and a trendsetter when it comes to one-stop shopping for the ecologically-evolved, Mom’s supports minimum wage workers’ plight for higher pay as a member of Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage and Pennsylvania Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage, as well.

At Mom’s, customers benefit from a range of services, from a store featuring organic, locally grown foods, to a recycling drop-off center and recharging stations for cars. For individuals who may not live near a Mom’s Organic Market, Mom’s makes your trip worthwhile by calculating the length of each customer’s drive to and from the store to determine the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. It, then, purchases carbon credits to offset these emissions. Once they arrive at Mom’s, customers may choose to charge their electric vehicles, recycle unwanted items, such as shoes, electronics, light bulbs and batteries, or purchase products in minimal packaging made from biodegradable materials.

Mom’s environmental values extend beyond the customer to the design and building materials used at each Mom’s location, the wind power used at each facility, the educating of its employees to promote environmental awareness and the company’s campaign to end the use of chemicals in lawn care. Mom’s Organic Market is an all-around people- and planet-friendly company that supports better, smarter practices in the workplace and the home. With locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania, this company is working hard to spread its green-mindedness and fair wage consciousness to citizens everywhere.

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.