Posts by stephen herzenberg

Death of an Adjunct

Appearing last week on a radio program in Pittsburgh with labor historian Charles McCollester, I heard for the first time the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, a 25-year adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University who died recently in poverty at the age of 83.

More Fun With Shale Jobs Numbers

Last week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition trumpeted a new claim on the shale drilling industry's positive impact on Pennsylvania jobs:

Raymond James analysts crunched the numbers, and between 2005 and 2012 almost 90 percent of the job growth in Pennsylvania at that time came from oil and gas jobs ... That’s the highest percentage of any state, according to analysts Pavel Molchanov and J. Marshall Adkins, who based the math off data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As meaningless statistics go, this is one of the more meaningless.

When Unions Are Strong, the Economy Is Strong

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I was on WESA's Essential Pittsburgh this week discussing the role of unions in building a stronger U.S. economy.

High Road Restaurant Owners Speak Out for Higher Minimum Wage

A few weeks ago, we responded to criticism about the feasibility of a $15-per-hour wage for fast food workers. In that post, we highlighted two "high road" employers, one a fast-food chain, as living examples of the feasibility — and profitability — of paying workers better.

Latest Income Numbers in Historical Perspective

The Gilded AgeColin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project has taken recently-released 2012 figures on the incomes of the top 1% and the rest of us and put the new information in historical perspective. Using national figures, he makes three points.

Just How Much Will a Fast Food Wage Increase Cost?

Big MacIn The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013, we said that substantially raising the wages of fast food workers — to roughly $15 per hour — could put Pennsylvania and the nation back on the path to shared prosperity. Capitolwire suggested in an August 29 Under the Dome brief (subscription required) that people would end up paying “a lot more” for their Big Macs and eating out at other restaurants. Yes, it would cost a bit more initially but not nearly as much as Capitolwire suggested. And it could lower costs in the long run. Let me explain.

I Have a Dream ... That President Obama Will Say "The President Wants You to Join a Union"

President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial at 3 p.m. today, the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

It's 'Invest in Education, Stupid'

"It's the economy, stupid," Clinton campaign manager James Carville famously said during the 1992 U.S. presidential election campaign.

Video: Debating Liquor Privatization

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I am a guest on PA Newsmakers this weekend along with Katrina Anderson of the Commonwealth Foundation debating the wisdom of privatizing the state's wine and spirits store system. I outline why privatization would be bad news for Pennsylvania from both a fiscal and social perspective. Check out the video. The privatization segment runs for the first 15 minutes.

Can the Right Afford to Acknowledge Low Upward Mobility in the U.S.?

Michael Laracy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation emailed around an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria on the boffo new study on upward mobility in the United States. The Zakaria piece appeared in the Amazon, I mean Bezos, I mean Washington Post.