Pa. is 24th in the nation for worker-friendly policies: report

Opposition from state public sector unions has kept a bill from Rep. Kate Klunk from a final vote for the past month. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Labor Day may be squarely in the rearview mirror, but a recent report by the anti-poverty group Oxfam America provides ample reminder that balancing the economic scales is still very much a year-round proposition.

The group ranked all 50 states based on a variety of metrics, from whether workers can earn a livable wage, its friendliness to organized labor, and the support services it offers to workers. Based on those metrics, Pennsylvania finished 24th in the nation, finishing behind five of the Keystone State’s six neighbors.

“While the U.S. economy is thriving for some, it is leaving millions of working families behind. As the federal government has refused to advance labor laws that would help, most states have stepped up to make vital improvements in wages and conditions,” the study’s authors wrote.

Here’s how Pennsylvania’s neighboring states finished overall: Delaware (16), Maryland (13), New Jersey (12); New York (13), Ohio (20) and West Virginia (25).

Map by Oxfam America

Breaking it down, Pennsylvania finished 36th nationwide for its wage policies — its biggest issue being the GOP Legislature’s ongoing resistance to raising the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage, which is 29.9 percent of the living wage of a family of four ($24.24/hr), according to Oxfam.

The state also got darts for a law barring local governments from raising the minimum wage if they choose to do so.

Pennsylvania finished 37th nationwide for its worker protection policies, including its failure to provide accommodation for pregnant workers and its failure to provide workplace protections for breastfeeding people.

That lack of support comes, we cannot help but point out (again), even as Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate repeatedly push legislation restricting a person’s access to abortion and abortion services.

You can review the full worker protection scorecard below. 

(Courtesy of Oxfam America)

The state finished first, meanwhile, for its organizing policies, with Oxfam specifically pointing out the absence of such labor-unfriendly laws as ‘right to work.’

Here’s the full scorecard:

(Courtesy of Oxfam America
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Our Stuff.

The Wolf administration has scored a $2.25M federal grant to study maternal mortality rates in Pennsylvania, Stephen Caruso reports.

State Senate Dems will hit the road this month for a series of open houses on addiction issuesElizabeth Hardison reports.

Sarah Anne Hughes has what you need to know about the Wolf administration’s efforts to fight hunger in Pennsylvania, and its push to preserve food stamps benefits for more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians.

On our Commentary Page, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, argues the case for his bill aimed at reducing the incidence of teen suicide. And two University of California/Irvine scholars offer their prescription for reducing lead contamination in America’s water supplies.

Elsewhere.
The Inquirer
 has the latest on the ‘intrigue’ surrounding the GOP at-large fight for Philadelphia City Council.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is backing legislation that would eliminate carbon emissions produced by local government buildings in the Steel City, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.
A toddler who disappeared in Allegheny County over the weekend was found dead on Tuesday nightPennLive reports.
Expanding rural broadband access could help save lives by expanding telemedicine, a Senate panel was told Tuesday. The Morning Call has the story.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

A federal bankruptcy judge will make the call on Hahnemann Hospital’s residency slotsWHYY-FM reports.
Gov. Tom Wolf will head overseas to visit the Auschwitz Memorial and Pa. Guard forces serving in Lithuania, the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
Stateline.org looks at the due process debate surrounding Red Flag laws.
The Pentagon will divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds to pay for the Trump border wall, Roll Call reports.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf takes his charter school reform push on the road, making a 10 a.m. stop at an elementary school in lovely McKeesport, Pa. At 1 p.m., he heads to Slippery Rock University to highlight the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign to reduce sexual assault on campus.

What Goes On.
This year’s State Employee Combined Appeal campaign kicks off with an 11 a.m. event in Soldiers & Sailors Grove behind the Capitol’s east wing.

You Say it’s Your Birthday Dept.
Our best wishes go out this morning to Lycoming County Elections Board Director Forrest Lehman who turns an undetermined year older today. Your wife, Megan, wanted to make sure your day started right. Congratulations, sir. We hope you enjoy your big day. Additional best wishes go out to our old pal, Bryce Connor, of Harrisburg power-poppers The Jellybricks, and to PCN head honcho, Brian Lockman, both of whom also celebrate today.

Heavy Rotation.
For the birthday boy — also by request — here’s one from the late George Harrison, in his guise with The Traveling Wilburys. It’s ‘Handle with Care.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Sure, Arsenal’s backline is a mess. That just means they’re going to be fun to watch, The Guardian reports.

And now you’re up to date.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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