More than 300K Pa. workers left behind by Trump’s overtime rule, think-tank says | Wednesday Morning Coffee

September 25, 2019 7:04 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Despite a historically low unemployment rate and a booming stock market, it’s become increasingly clear these last few months that entirely too many Americans are being left behind by President Donald Trump’s economy.

From food stamp cuts and attacks on heath care and a tax break that ended up mostly benefiting the 1 percent, there’s been ample evidence that, despite his populist bluster, Trump remains the classic New York City rich dude, born with a silver foot in his mouth.

And now … more good news, via the left-leaning Keystone Research Center, which concludes in a new analysis that 310,000 Pennsylvania workers will be impacted by a new U.S. Labor Department rule tightening overtime requirements for such salaried workers as restaurant and department store managers; college admissions workers and branch bank workers.

Image via Flickr Commons

According to the KRC’s Stephen Herzenbergthe new Labor Department rule “[sets set the threshold under which salaried workers are automatically entitled to overtime pay to an inadequate $35,568 a year.”  That shuts out many “middle-class salaried workers” who should be entitled to overtime pay.

“The overtime rule was a great chance for the Trump administration to make the economy less rigged against regular workers but it chose instead to stand with the corporations that routinely take advantage of overworked, underpaid salaried employees,” Herzenberg said in a statement.

That 310,000-worker figure is based on a comparison to a 2016 Obama-era rule that would have allowed salaried workers earning less than $47,476 a year to claim overtime pay. For good measure, it’s also short of a Wolf administration plan to phase in overtime increases to $48,000, Herzenberg noted.

“These salaried workers are the backbone of many of our businesses small and large—opening restaurants early, closing department stores late, welcoming families in college admissions departments, serving customers in branch banks, and patients at health clinics. The inadequate federal rule makes it critically important that the Wolf proposal move to implementation,” Herzenberg said.

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Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso
 and Elizabeth Hardison have what you need to know about a top Democratic campaign staffer who was suspended Monday in the wake of a sexual harassment allegation.

Caruso also has a rundown of legislative action in the House on Tuesday on a raft of anti-gun violence proposals. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter rolls onward today.

Our Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender — with an assist from a certain newsletter author — runs down the Pennsylvania reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that she’s opening an impeachment inquiry.

The House State Government Committee approved a measure allowing school districts to post ‘In God We Trust’ plaques in classrooms and other public areas. But it raises a question: Whose god and whose heritage is its backer trying to honor anyway?

On our Commentary Page, Opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz says reports of the demise of the U.S. Constitution are overblown. Opinion regular Fletcher McClellan, joined by ETown College grad Janel Myers, wonders whether social movements lose their bite as they multiply. And John N. Mitchell, of the Philadelphia Tribune, says it doesn’t matter how much the City of Brotherly Love tries to gussy it up, it still has a crushing homelessness problem.

A Colt handgun (Flickr Creative Commons photo)

The Inquirer’s Helen Ubinas has the story of one grieving mother’s protest against gun violence. And how you can help her.
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse overstepped his bounds by scheduling interviews with private firms over the city’s water system, City Council says. PennLive has the story.
Pittsburgh City Paper caught up with U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-18th District, for his reaction to the impeachment announcement.
A former campaign treasurer to state Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehighhas been charged with stealing nearly $600,000 from the Lehigh Valley lawmaker’s campaign, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM spent three days with teachers as they were being trained to use guns.
BillyPenn goes deep on a new Philly law that would bring some sunshine to sexual harassment lawsuits.
The PA Post looks at how fracking contaminants might have gotten into the Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania.
The progressive super PAC American Bridge will start targeting Trump voters in Pa., PoliticsPA reports. looks at how luxury apartment dwellers are getting a tax break intended for low-income renters.
The Trump White House faces a ‘legal fight like none before’ in the coming impeachment battle, Politico reports.
At least for now, not much is going to change on Capitol Hill after Tuesday’s announcement, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
9 a.m., Main Rotunda: 
It’s Time For Action” rally for gun safety based on today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: Gov. Tom Wolf will advocate for ending the stigma of Opioid Use Disorder
1 p.m., East Rotunda: Suicide Awareness Day rally

Gov. Tom Wolf 
and LG John Fetterman release the results of the marijuana listening tour during a 2:30 p.m. newser.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
7:30 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. John Galloway
7:30 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Bud Cook
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Sen. Bob Mensch
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Chris Quinn
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Austin Davis
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Gerald Mullery
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Wendi Thomas
8:30 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Sen. Christine Tartaglione
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a truly ridiculous $16,500 today.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a classic from Paul Oakenfold. It’s ‘Cafe del Mar.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
The Guardian
 explains how Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic became advocates for players’ rights in MLS.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.