Workplace

Third and State This Week: Confusion About Voter ID, Payday Lending in the Senate and Poverty-wage Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on the Voter ID Law, a bill to legalize high-interest payday lending now before the state Senate, poverty-wage jobs in Pennsylvania, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, Sharon Ward blogged about a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on confusion surrounding the new law among PennDOT staff and voters alike. You can check out PBPC's full report here.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about legislation before the Senate to legalize payday loans with annual interest rates of 369%. He also explained that the writer of a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News supportive of the bill forgot to mention her group represents payday lenders.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about local incentives in a Tennessee town intended to lure web developers.
  • On poverty, Mark Price reported that about 24% of Pennsylvania workers earned poverty wages in 2011.
  • On monetary policy, Mark Price highlighted two views on what the Federal Reserve can do to boost the economy. 
  • On education, Mark Price shared an Allentown Morning Call column offering a midterm report card on Governor Corbett's education policies.
  • And in a Friday Funny, we bring you an article by the satirical newspaper The Onion on how voter suppression in Pennsylvania isn't as fun as it used to be. 

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

A Look at Poverty-Wage Jobs in Pennsylvania

In this year's State of Working Pennsylvania, we explored the prevalence of poverty-wage jobs in the commonwealth. 

We define poverty-wage jobs as those paying hourly wages that would not be sufficient for a full-time (40 hours a week), year-round (52 weeks) worker to earn an income greater than the poverty line for a family of four with two children. 

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Liquor Privatization, Very Hot Working Conditions and CEO Pay

This week at Third and State, we blogged about where the state budget is at, protesters pressuring Amazon to install air conditioning in warehouses, how much CEOs earned in 2011 and more. Plus, we responded to attacks on a recent Keystone Research Center report on alcohol privatization and alcohol-related traffic deaths.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to an attack from a spokesman with the Commonwealth Foundation on a recent Keystone Research Center report showing that states like Pennsylvania which tightly control alcohol distribution have fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths as a result.
  • On the workplace, Michael Wood highlighted a news report on how protesters pressured Amazon into installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared her memo to reporters and editors providing an overview of where things are at with the budget.
  • On education and the economy, Mark Price wrote about recent news reports on student loan debt for college dropouts and new figures showing that the typical CEO made $4,615 an hour in 2011.
  • And on health care, Chris Lilienthal noted a news report on efforts by conservative groups to persuade states to not create state-level health insurance exchanges.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Protesters Shame Amazon into Installing Air Conditioning for Warehouses

MSNBC reported last week that online retail giant Amazon is installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S., including in Pennsylvania, after protesters interrupted the company's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.

Morning Must Reads: Water Privatization in Harrisburg and a Taxpayer Financed Hotel in Pittsburgh?

The Harrisburg Patriot News reports this morning that there are several firms interested in buying Harrisburg's water and sewer system.

Morning Must Reads: You Get What You Pay For: Human and Physical Capital

In the State of the Union address last week, President Obama called for more investment in programs that link training in higher education to employers. This morning the Harrisburg Patriot-News has an excellent article detailing one such program here in Central Pennsylvania.

Third and State This Week: State of the Union, Loopholes and Price of Service Cuts

This week, we blogged about the President's State of the Union address, new legislation to address corporate tax loopholes and a new series examining the price of cuts to state services in Pennsylvania.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the State of the Union, Mark Price offered a preview before the President's speech and a recap of his favorite parts the next day.
  • On state budget and tax policy, Chris Lilienthal wrote that legislation proposed by Representatives Dave Reed and Eugene DePasquale would take a first step towards closing corporate tax loopholes in Pennsylvania, but more needed to be done. Chris also highlighted the first and second installments of a new series from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center featuring stories of Pennsylvanians impacted by five years of state service cuts.
  • And in other Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price compared and contrasted executives and teachers, and highlighted a proposal to strengthen both the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Morning Must Reads: Compare and Contrast: Executives and Teachers

The New York Times this morning has yet another story that is sure to dominate public conversation over the next week or so. Read it or else!

Third and State This Week: Gloomy Economic News, Trade Agreements and Tracking Salaries

This week, we blogged about the need for a jobs plan, an effort to make labor markets more transparent, and the negligible effect the recently passed trade agreements will have on reducing joblessness. Plus, the Friday Funny is back, with the warm words of everybody's favorite CEO, T. Herman Zweibel (extra points, if you know who that is without looking him up).

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the recession and recovery, Mark Price addressed a Patriot-News editorial that calls for passage of the American Jobs Act but misstates the important impact that the Recovery Act of 2009 had on turning the free-falling economy around. Mark also blogged about some of the awkward facts that make it difficult to root for GE and other multinationals.
  • On unemployment and the economy, Mark compared a poll performed by the Mercyhurst College Center for Applied Politics with labor analysis done by the Keystone Research Center — both finding that roughly 1 in 4 Pennsylvania residents have had less paid work than they wanted during the last 12 months.
  • In other economic news, Mark blogged about Congress' failure to address the lack of consumer demand that is keeping unemployment high and its passage of a free trade agreement that will have a negligible impact on U.S. employment.
  • On wages and the workplace, Chris Lilienthal blogged about an online project aimed at creating a more transparent labor market. You can share and compare salaries and wages, understand your rights on the job, and look up the salaries of politicians, CEOs, athletes, and Hollywood stars.
  • Lastly, a bit of humor after a gloomy news week. Chris shared some satire from The Onion's publisher emeritus, T. Herman Zweibel, who is shocked that his repeatedly mistreated employees are in disbelief that he would move their offices to the Yukon.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Friday Funny: Happiness Among Employees No Less than Mutiny

Long a fan of The Onion, I pass on the wise words of T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus, for your Friday Funny.

Quite disturbed by reports of "the murmur of pleasant conversation and, in many cases, outright laughter among staffers," Herman sets out at once to stifle this "foul cancer known to some pansy-sniffing modern types as High Morale." In the name of cost-cutting, Herman arranages to have the staff and operations of the newspaper relocated to the Yukon. Not that there are real money troubles, of course. As Herman notes: "[O]ur coffers are swollen as ticks, making them too expensive to move; no, they shall stay here with me."

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