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On Tuesday, June 8, organized labor joined with religious groups and Democratic lawmakers to raise the states minimum wage to .10 an hour. Service Employees Internation Union Local 668 President Kathy Jellison summed up the problem facing million of low-wage workers in Pennsylvania well when she said, "We've got Pennsylvanians who work 40 hours a week [who] are eligible for public assistance. We've got working families choosing between paying the light bill or buying groceries. "
Dauphin County Representative Patty Kim(D), a frequent speaker at labor rallies, echoed this sentiment when she said, "There is a serious need out there. Low wage workers are suffering."
There is support for an increase on the the other side as well, but with reservations. Republican Mario Scavello does not feel that teenagers should be included in this conversation. Also concerns about affects on unemployment were rasied by opponents.
On June 6, according to the State AFL-CIO, written testimony was submitted to avoid a hearing on the "Paycheck Protection" bill. This is the bill that would eliminate the automatic collection of Union Dues. The bill is still in committee and no actions are scheduled at this time.
Finally, with graduations, Fathers Day, and weddings this month, folks will need to ship gifts. The PA AFL-CIO is joining with the National AFL-CIO in calling for a boycott of the Staples office supply store for entering into a agreement with the USPS to open postal counters. More on this campaign can be found here. A rally in Pittsburgh is planned for later this month as well.
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