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

September 4, 2019 7:12 am

(Capital-Star file)

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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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.

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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.