Thursday, January 31, 2013
Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett unveiled a plan Wednesday to privatize the state's network of wine and spirits stores. We want to know if Saucon Valley residents think that's a good idea.
The way Pennsylvanians purchase liquor could change forever if a plan presented Wednesday by governor Tom Corbett is ultimately implemented. Plans to abolish the state-run monopoly on liquor sales have been debated by many politicians in the past, but popular opinion now appears to support the idea. We wanted to know how Saucon Valley residents feel about this issue, so we posed the question on Facebook yesterday. Local resident Mary Anne Looby said her experiences living outside the commonwealth have influenced her opinion on the subject of privatizing liquor sales. "We are definitely for it," she wrote on Hellertown Patch's Facebook page. "It will allow for a greater selection of wines coming into PA. Competition means better prices. We …
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Employee costs have become a concern.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
By Stacy Brown | PA Independent A change in the law governing collective bargaining is needed to help municipalities falling on difficult financial times, officials said recently. A major legal change lawmakers want would require arbitrators to consider a municipality's ability to pay an award that may be granted during the arbitration process. "We have to do something about Act 111. There should be reform," said state Sen. Jane Earll, R-Erie, who co-chaired a joint House and Senate public hearing Dec. 8 with state Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester. The Police and Firefighter Collective Bargaining Law of 1968, commonly referred to as Act 111, authorized collective bargaining between police and firefighters and their public employers. The law …
Thursday, October 13, 2011
At its Oct. 3 meeting Hellertown Borough Council approved a motion to support prevailing wage reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A "prevailing wage" is defined as an hourly wage paid to a majority of workers within a particular area, acccording to Wikipedia. Prevailing wages are established by the Department of Labor & Industry as well as state departments of labor, an entry on the subject states. In Pennsylvania, the law that requires prevailing wages to be paid to workers on projects totaling $25,000 or more has not been updated in nearly half a century. However, a proposed set of reforms being considered by the General Assembly would increase the threshold for prevailing wage projects to $185,000. Currently, the state's House Republican Caucus is pushing for changes to the law, and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs is seeking support for the reforms …
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Democrats say the effort will hurt workers’ wages.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
By Caleb Taylor | PA Independent Taxpayers in Pennsylvania might save some money at the expense of workers under provisions approved by a state House committee Monday. Changes to the state's so-called prevailing wage laws would release local and state governments from mandated wages paid to workers on public projects. Republicans and business groups argue that union contracts artificially inflate those wages, but Democrats and unions say the wages are appropriate and cutting them will hurt workers' wallets. Bills approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee would change the way the prevailing wage is calculated, raise the threshold for projects to qualify for prevailing wage and exempt school districts from having to pay the higher …
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Opponents of the move say Governor Tom Corbett may be putting philosophical interests ahead of cost-effectiveness.
The Corbett administration wants more government operations privatized to save money in the 2012-13 budget cycle. This directive was included in budget guidelines the administration released in August to help departments prepare for next year’s budget. “If a product or service that state government is currently providing can be found in the Yellow Pages and can be done less expensively by the private sector, then the commonwealth should consider offering that product or service in a different manner,” reads a portion of the guidelines. Through the guidelines, the administration advises departments to assess responsibilities and functions with the goal of identifying potential opportunities for outsourcing and privatization. Gov. Tom …
Friday, September 16, 2011
The state's Department of Labor and Industry insists that the law applies to the construction industry only.
Deborah Webster just wanted to send her son to a private school. So three years ago, when her husband lost his job, they worked six part-time jobs. Since then their situations have improved, but Webster kept her last part-time job, which included cleaning an office building. The job was enjoyable for her, she said, and the extra money helped make ends meet, but because of Act 72 of 2010, Webster can no longer work as an independent contractor. Her employer informed Webster in July that she would have to leave the job or comply with the new state law, which did not include provisions to ensure existing contractors could keep their jobs--known as a "grandfather clause." Webster said she got a call “saying that there had been some changes in…
Both members of the business community and labor union backers have statistics to support their claims.
In a difficult economy, advocates for eliminating the mandatory payment of union dues by non-union workers say the changes could make Pennsylvania a more competitive state for jobs. But the new rules could mean lower wages, argue labor unions, and with Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate of 7.8 percent ranking among the best in the nation, many question why anything should change. Republicans this fall are expected to push legislation, making Pennsylvania the nation’s 23rd state to adopt so-called “right-to-work” laws. In doing so, the state would repeal laws requiring non-union workers in union shops to pay about 75 percent of the typical union dues as a condition of employment. The business community said the new laws will give employers…
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Changes could be coming during the state legislature's fall session.
- Eric Boehm
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A new study ranks Pennsylvania as one of the most union-friendly states in the nation, but many in the state capitol have reason to hope--or fear--that those statistics may soon be changing. Lawmakers will return to Harrisburg next week, and the fall session is shaping up to be a battle between labor unions and business groups on almost every front. With Republicans in control of the state House, state Senate and governor’s mansion, business groups want to change labor laws to save taxpayers money, improve the business climate and give workers more freedom. “We clearly need to address our very strict, stringent and uncompetitive labor regulations,” said Gene Barr, executive director of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, …
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Businesses and labor are clashing over a proposal to eliminate the mandatory payment of union dues.
Businesses and organized labor are clashing over a proposal to eliminate the mandatory payment of union dues by non-union employees in some professions. A package of bills, introduced this session by state House Republicans, seeks to repeal state laws requiring all state workers, local government employees and public school teachers to pay dues, even if they choose not to join a union. Business groups say the compulsory dues are an affront to freedom and the so-called “right-to-work” laws would increase personal income and job creation. Right-to-work means that employees are not required to join labor unions or pay union dues, even if they choose to work in a union shop. “Workers should be free to make their own decisions about the …
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The holiday was originally intended to help celebrate unions, in the wake of the infamous Pullman Strike.
What most Americans don’t remember is that we owe our early September three-day holiday to President Grover Cleveland, who, in 1894, helped establish Labor Day as a national holiday. At the time, Cleveland wasn’t so much interested in the leisure of working people as he was in calming the waters between union members and the government roiled to huge waves by the government’s handling of the Pullman Strike. Cleveland had sent in federal Marshals and 12,000 U.S. troops to break a national boycott against the railroads on the grounds that the U.S. mail was being interfered with. Thirteen deaths and numerous casualties resulted. The governor of Illinois, John P. Altgeld, was so outraged by Cleveland’s actions (suppressing the strike, not …