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Labor Report

Philly Pension Fund Showing Signs of Recovery, Administration Says

Philadelphia’s chronically underfunded pension program is on the path to recovery due largely to reforms included in the latest contracts for the city’s four major municipal labor unions, administration officials say. Yet, the Inquirer reports that finance experts disagree on how long it may take the city to reach its goal of 80 percent pension funding.

The pension fund contains just 45 percent of the $11.3 billion it will need to cover the pensions of all current and future retirees. Collectively, city employees are paying more into the fund and under the latest contracts covering members of FOP Lodge 5, IAFF Local 22, AFSCME District Council 33 and AFSCME District Council 47. Further, the program benefits from a $65,000 annual pension cap for new non-uniformed employees, as well as additional sales tax funding.

The administration projects the plan will achieve 80 percent funding by 2029. But outside analysts told the newspaper that the administration is overly optimistic about its anticipated returns on fund investments.

Laid-Off Toys R Us Workers Appeal to Congress for Bankruptcy Reforms

Toys R Us is due to lay off 33,000 employees without severance resulting from its recent corporate buyout and bankruptcy filing. Last week, two U.S. senators said they plan to introduce new regulations on private equity corporate buyouts to prevent similar scenarios in the future.

“Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said Tuesday that they will introduce legislation to help workers situated similarly to those laid off after Toys ‘R’ Us announced earlier this year that it would close all its U.S. stores,” Politico reported. “The bill, they said, would curb leveraged buyouts of the type that led to the company’s collapse earlier this year. The pair demurred, however, on whether they will try to attach it to a spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30. ‘We may offer an amendment,’ Menendez said, ‘but I like passing things.’”

Laid off workers and workers’ rights groups also met with Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, in their July 31 visit to Capitol Hill.
“The ex-employees are asking for new leverage limits on private equity deals, along with a worker-protection tax and profit clawbacks that would fund payments in situations similar to the one now playing out with the demise of the private equity-owned U.S. toymaker,” Bloomberg reported.

“Besides broader industry legislation, they asked that lawmakers urge creditors and the buyout firms to contribute to a hardship fund for the laid-off Toys workers.”

“Critics of the U.S. bankruptcy process say the system offers rich compensation to the executives and advisers in charge of dismantling a company, but little to rank-and-file workers who stay on to assist in winding down operations. Representatives for the former employees are trying to tap a pool of $180 million earmarked to pay lawyers, advisers and suppliers.”

Missourians Face Tuesday Showdown Over New Right-to-Work Law

Union members canvassing on behalf of the We Are Missouri campaign knocked on doors in Kansas City on Tuesday, one week ahead of a battleground vote over right to work. They want people to vote "no" and repeal right to work. Click here to watch.
Union members canvassing on behalf of the We Are Missouri campaign knocked on doors in Kansas City on Tuesday, one week ahead of a battleground vote over right to work. They want people to vote "no" and repeal right to work.

Labor unions and advocates have been canvassing cities and towns across Missouri and raising millions of dollars in advance of Tuesday’s statewide referendum over recently enacted right-to-work legislation.

The question will appear as Proposition A on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. A “no” vote represents those who want to repeal right-to-work. Forty years ago, Missourians defeated a similar measure, 60-40. Various polls cited by The Kansas City Star show the “nos” leading by as much as 18 points or the sides in a virtual dead heat.

The pro-labor political action committee We Are Missouri had raised more than $16 million as of Aug. 2 in support of the “no” campaign, almost four times as much as pro right-to-work organizations, the Star reported.

July 2018 National Jobs Update

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in July 2018, down 0.1% from June 2018. Over the month, unemployment rolls decreased by 280,000 individuals, lowering total unemployment to slightly below 6.3 million. National unemployment statistics for the month are as follows:

  • Total Unemployment – 6,280,000
  • Change Over Month –   DOWN   284,000
  • Change Over Year –   DOWN   676,000
  • Change Over Trump Term –   DOWN   1,362,000
  • Rate Change Over Month –   DOWN   0.1%
  • Rate Change Over Year –   DOWN   0.4%
  • Rate Change Over Trump Term –   DOWN   0.9%
  • Rate Change Over Obama 2nd Term –   DOWN   3.2%

The labor force is the total number of employed individuals combined with the total number of unemployed individuals actively searching for work. Growth in the labor force can be a sign of a strengthening economy from more people working and/or more individuals searching for jobs. From June to July 2018, the national labor force grew by 105,000 individuals, a combination of total employment* rising by 389,000 individuals and total unemployment down by 284,000 individuals as noted above.
Since President Trump took office, the national labor force has grown by 2.527 million individuals (unemployment -1.362 million & employment +3.889 million). While this growth is encouraging, continued improvement will be needed to match labor force growth seen over President Obama’s second term (3.955 million: unemployment -4.829 million & employment +8.784 million).

  • Total Labor Force – 162,245,000
  • Change Over Month – UP  105,000
  • Change Over Year – UP 1,778,000
  • Change Over Trump Term – UP  2,527,000
  • Change Over Obama 2nd Term – UP 3,955,000

Non-farm* jobs grew by 157,000 from June to July 2018, well below economist’s projections of about 190,000. With the increase, average monthly non-farm job growth thus far under President Trump stands at 191,000, or 26,000 below average monthly growth of 217,000 seen over President Obama’s second term. Year-over-year, the national economy has added 2.4 million new non-farm jobs, 114,000 less than the 2.514 million non-farms jobs added year-over-year in President Obama’s last July (2016) in office. These are far from the levels expected from a President who criticized growth under President Obama and said that he would be the “greatest jobs President God ever created”. Employment statistics for the month are as follows:

  • Total Employment – 149,128,000
  • Change Over Month –  UP 157,000
  • Change Over Year –  UP 2,400,000
  • Change Over Trump Term – UP 3,432,000
  • Change Over Obama 2nd Term –  UP 10,414,000

*Total employment for labor force provided by U.S. Census Household survey. The separate BLS Establishment survey measures non-farm jobs only.





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