Philadelphia Could Finally Get Paid Sick Days, If Comcast Doesn’t Block It


In the past, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has made his position on a paid sick days law very clear. In 2011 and 2013, he vetoed paid sick days bills passed by a majority of the City Council, turning a deaf ear to the nearly 35 percent of Philly’s workforce that doesn’t have access to a single paid sick day.

But third time might be the charm for Mayor Nutter. The Mayor’s Task Force on Paid Sick Leave produced a report this week formally recommending that businesses with more than 15 employees allow all workers to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. And Nutter indicated he would support such a bill if it came to his desk:

“A healthy worker is a happy worker, and it’s a person that’s ultimately going to be more productive and just spreading a lot less stuff around the workplace,” Mr. Nutter said after accepting the report of a 14-member mayoral task force formed to study the issue.

In 2013, Working America drove hundreds of calls and emails to the Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Nutter’s office urging support for a paid sick days law. After Nutter’s veto, the Council was one vote short of an override.

The fight this time might be over the details. Councilman William Greenlee, who introduced the 2013 bill and is expected to do so again, thinks “15 employees is a little high” for an exemption. He supports exempting businesses with 10 employees or more.

Another player to watch? Comcast, the Philadelphia-based cable giant that lobbied hard against paid sick days in 2013. “Almost all of the $108,429.25 Comcast spent on lobbying in 2011 was in opposition to paid sick days,” reported last year, “It also is a major contributor to Mayor Nutter, contributing $7,500 to his campaign in 2011 and an additional $8,500 in 2012.”

We’re hoping that Mayor Nutter, who leaves office next year, will side with Philadelphia workers over the corporations that have funded his previous campaigns.

Photo by PhillyCam on Flickr

Tags: , , , , ,

Unions And The Tea Party Find Themselves On The Same Side In TPP Fight: Punching In

Unions and tea party activists are strange bedfellows in fight against bad TPP trade deal

“The internal GOP feud over what some conservative critics are calling ‘Obamatrade’ is just the latest in a series of skirmishes between the party’s corporate-friendly leadership and its populist base.”

Airport workers join nationwide fast food strikes

“Airline cost-cutting measures over the years have resulted in airlines contracting out work that was once performed by the airlines themselves.  Often, these contracts go to the lowest bidders, who in turn pay their workers very low wages.”

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr expected to resign within days

“It’s time for Kevyn Orr to put more steaks in the fridge and line his pockets in the private sector for a while,” he said (bizarrely) in a recent speech.

Here’s an idea: abolish the U.S. Senate

Daniel Lazare at Jacobin lays out why we’d be better off without “one of the world’s most undemocratic legislatures.”

Uber, Gerrymandering, and the Workers Behind Cyber Monday: Punching In

Is Uber offering subprime auto loans to its workers?

One driver described the terms of the loans as “just laughably bad, and left for the desperate and/or uneducated.”

The workers behind Cyber Monday: 15 pictures of an Amazon fulfillment center

Check out the description from a warehouse worker of the weirdest grouped order they’ve ever shipped.

The study that could end partisan gerrymandering forever

Several Supreme Court opinions say there’s no objective way for them to figure out if a Congressional district has been rigged. But what if science handed it to them?

Mayor Nutter’s task force reports: Philadelphia should absolutely have a paid sick days law

Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter has twice vetoed paid sick days bills, so this puts him (and Comcast lobbyists) in an awkward position.

Hotel Workers and Harvard Students Stand Together: Punching In

AFL-CIO’s President Trumka speaks out on Ferguson non-indictment

“While we can all agree that justice must take its course, we cannot deny or marginalize the perception that the system, itself, is not yet color blind.”

There’s no “tech shortage,” tech industry just wants cheaper workers

“They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV.”

Hilton workers and Harvard students protest anti-union activity at Cambridge-area DoubleTree

“About 700 students, religious workers, and hotel and food service workers from around the city showed up for a rally Thursday evening outside the Science Center to support the housekeepers’ unionization efforts.”

Warren to NY fed President: Fix your problems, or we’ll find someone who will

“The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a grilling from the Senate Banking Committee on Friday, following revelations that one of its former employees had been fired by Goldman Sachs for accessing regulatory information about one of the banks it oversees.”

Warren Takes on Obama’s Nominee to Head The Treasury: Punching In

Judge rules Illinois pension cuts unconstitutional

“Our unions have long argued that the state cannot simply choose to violate the Constitution and diminish or impair retirement benefits if politicians find these commitments inconvenient to keep.”

Shrinking the financial sector will make us all richer

“We must come to understand our economy not as simply a vehicle for capital owners, but rather as the creation of all of us, a common endeavor that creates space for innovation, risk taking, and a stronger workforce.”


Teamsters allege salad company Taylor Farms took advantage of undocumented workers

A half-dozen current and former workers interviewed by the Guardian alleged the billion-dollar company took advantage of undocumented migrants from Mexico and central America to keep workers on “temporary” status year after year.

Senator Warren pans Obama’s nominee to head Treasury Department

“In recent years, President Obama has repeatedly turned to nominees with close Wall Street ties for high-level economic positions…It’s time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making. Sure, big banks are important, but running this economy for American families is a lot more important.”

After 500 Days of Congress Refusing to Vote on Immigration Bill, Obama Acts: Punching In

Obama unveils executive orders on immigration to shield 4.1 million from deportation

“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty — leaving this broken system the way it is,” Obama said. “What I’m describing is accountability.”

AFL-CIO President Trumka wants a comprehensive solution that works for workers

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: “Unfortunately, more than half of those who currently lack legal protections will remain vulnerable to wage theft, retaliation and other forms of exploitation. In addition, we are concerned by the president’s concession to corporate demands for even greater access to temporary visas that will allow the continued suppression of wages in the tech sector.”

NLRB rejects Marist College vote against adjunct professor unionization

NLRB ruled that Marist College “committed objectionable conduct during the course of the union election for the nearly 500 part-time adjunct faculty employed by the college.”

Yet again, Walmart holds food drive for its own underpaid employees

ThinkProgress: “In addition to asking workers to help feed each other, Walmart gets an assist from every taxpayer in the country. The company’s low wages leave huge numbers of its employees on public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. By one estimate, a single Walmart superstore incurs up to $1.7 million in public assistance spending every year.”

walmart food drive oklahoma city

Facebook Drivers Vote to Unionize, and the “Google Buses” Could Be Next: Punching In

Drivers who bus Facebook employees to and from work vote to unionize

“A lot of my passengers are young enough to be my kids and are making a lot more than I do,” said driver Cliff Doi, one of the 43 who voted to join the Teamsters. Are the drivers of the notorious privatized “Google buses” next?

New York legislators hold session to increase their salaries, but it could be tied to minimum wage hike

“I think lawmakers, after more than a decade, deserve a pay raise, but 3 million New Yorkers who are working at poverty-level pay deserve an increase, too. Doing the two of them together makes good economic sense and good government sense.”

Amazon reaches settlement with NLRB that would allow warehouse workers greater rights at work

Bloomberg: “The deal could open the door for Amazon’s workers to unionize, because the settlement requires the online retailer to post notices at its fulfillment centers notifying employees that they have the right to form unions and work with each other for collective benefits.”

Don’t worry, Texas, Rick Perry isn’t done wasting your tax dollars yet

Gov. Perry doesn’t know what the executive order on immigration will contain, but he is already considering suing the federal government over it.

Some Illinois Democrats Pushing ALEC Bill to Keep Cities from Raising the Minimum Wage: Punching In

Illinois is site of competing minimum wage efforts as some Democrats push ALEC preemption bill 

Voters were pretty clear on this issue in November, yet House Speaker Madigan is floating a bill to keep cities from raising the minimum wage on their own. Must be all those donations from the Illinois Restaurant Association.

L.A.-area port truckers strike expands to three new companies

Drivers from QTS Inc., LACA Express, and WinWin Logistics Inc. joined the strike Monday morning. Dockworkers have been without a contract since July.

Multiple sources: ALEC is super psyched about 2015! 

Local right to work, minimum wage preemption, keeping poor people off Medicaid, and more from our favorite secretive right-wing bill mill.

Guards at the Sands Bethlehem casino one step closer to unionizing

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has stopped all of the 50,000 workers at his casinos from unionizing, but that winning streak might soon end.

New Report Details Huge Impact of Health Care Law on LGBT Americans: Punching In

Across the labor movement, leaders and members facing Ferguson

“Unions want more members in order to be more powerful — but in order to do what? We can be more powerful to get good contracts, and we should. But we need to be more powerful to address police brutality and mass incarceration too.”

Over governor’s objection, Alabama copper workers vote to unionize

Gov. Bentley used Golden Dragon as an example of his ability to bring jobs to the state, but he’s not pleased with them asserting their rights.

Senate Democrats stand with Obama on immigration

But let’s be clear: there’s been no executive order yet, we don’t know what will be in it, and the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration a year and a half ago that Speaker Boehner refuses to bring to a vote.

The Affordable Care Act has vastly improved the health care system for LGBT Americans

ACA prohibits health plans sold through the exchange from discriminating against someone based on sexual orientation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

State Rep Wears Armani Hat While Smashing Homeless’ Possessions: Punching In

Hawaii Rep. Tom Brower takes a sledgehammer to homeless peoples’ stuff

But after coverage of his actions went national he agreed to stop, saying “the point that I was trying to make has been made.”

Big victory in Pittsburgh as unfairly fired UPMC workers in reinstated

NLRB judge: UPMC “has engaged in egregious and widespread misconduct.”

Major labor union in Israel threatens general strike

Half a world away, the Israeli labor union Histadrut taking action against low wages, outside contracting, and discrimination against disabled workers.

2,000 exotic dancers in New York City awarded $10 million in class-action lawsuit

“The court’s decision reflects that exotic dancers are entitled to the same legal protections as other employees, and is a resounding victory for a group whose voices are all too often ignored.”