It may come as no surprise to you, but a report presented to our nation’s mayors isn’t so optimistic about Philly’s job market – at least, not for the next few years.
The report, issued by IHS Global Insight, says that it will take until the end of 2013 before the Philadelphia unemployment rate drops to less than 7%.
But it’s our opinion that we don’t have to wait until 2013 – in fact, we can create good jobs in Philadelphia right now. The money to do that is there right now, right here in Philadelphia. It’s just a matter of whose job that’s the question.
As we’ve mentioned recently, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts makes a mind-blowing $15,000 an hour. Just last year, he managed to bring in a cool $31 million. This is, in part, because he managed to get a $3.8 million raise last year. It seems that his 2009 income of $27.2 million just wasn’t enough for Brian Roberts to make ends meet.
In fact, if Comcast simply took the money from Roberts’ 2010 raise and used it, instead, to create customer service jobs, Comcast could have paid the wages of 142 new customer service representative jobs on Roberts’ 2010 raise alone.
And, imagine if that money was invested in saving or creating jobs that our communities desperately need. We’re talking, roughly, about the wages for:
82 more firefighters, or;
92 more police officers, or;
58 more nurses, or;
74 more teachers, or;
69 more librarians
There’s a lot of money floating around in Philadelphia. The problem is that it’s just being given unnecessarily to the ultra-rich. The only thing that’s lagging is the willingness of big Philadelphia corporations to be responsible and create good jobs for all – not just a few CEOs.
“If you’re sincere about change in Philly, let’s make some noise!” Fight for Philly member Thomas Butler said to the hundreds of people who descended on Center City Thursday.
We were there to make our message loud and clear: corporations need to be held accountable to Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and communities.
Activists began at the headquarters of Comcast, marched through 17th Street and ended at the Wells Fargo branch. The Harris Kingdom Drill Team was on hand to lead folks through the street and keep us moving at each location. All along the way, folks were calling out Center City corporations for taking advantage of corporate tax loopholes rather than investing in Philadelphia’s communities.
If these corporations had paid their fair share in taxes, painful cuts to the Philadelphia School District and other city services and programs could be completely prevented.
Standing in front of each of the corporations, neighbors shared their personal stories and emphasized the impact the actions of these greedy companies are having on their lives. Fight for Philly member Liz Lassiter said this:
“They keep telling us that there is not enough money out there. But look around – there is plenty of money in Center City. It’s not fair that you and I are feeling the pain in our homes and communities, while companies like Comcast make billions and then get a tax rebate.”
And Charles David Pinchback stressed why he was fighting for Philly: “I’m fighting for Philly because I am Philly. My children are Philly. And you all are Philly. We love this city, and we need to make it fair for everyone.”
It’s time for rich corporations like Comcast and Wells Fargo to answer to our communities that are struggling while they make billions in profits. As we chanted together on Thursday, “We’ll be back” to demand that rich corporations invest in our families and our futures.
We keep hearing that the Great Recession is over, but for who? The economy is working out perfectly fine for big Philadelphia corporations and their CEOs. That’s why they don’t want things to change:
CEO pay increased by 27% in the last year – in fact, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts made nearly $15,000 per hour last year. That means that for every two-and-a-half hours of work, Brian Roberts makes more money than the average working household in Philadelphia earns in a year.
The Delaware tax loophole is hurting Philadelphia. While Wells Fargo likes to greet us with its “Hello Philly” ads, the company has more than 1,000 subsidiaries incorporated in Delaware as a way to avoid paying taxes.
We have a choice. We can continue to watch as our city’s future is taken from us by big corporations who don’t give back and by politicians who don’t listen to us – or we can Fight for Philly!
Tomorrow at 4 PM, we’re taking our first step together. We know what happens if we do nothing. But if we want change, we have to fight for it.
Thanks to your hard work, the City Council passed the Paid Sick Time bill on Thursday, June 16.
This legislation is a huge victory for workers in the city: hundreds of thousands of workers in Philadelphia will no longer have to report to work sick. Families will no longer have to choose between missing a day’s pay or risking losing their jobs – and leaving their sick children home alone or sending them to school where they can infect other children.
And like most legislation that helps working people, this bill helps the entire community as well. It is in all of our interest for people who are sick to stay at home – rather than spread the disease to the rest of us.
The bill now comes before Mayor Nutter, who has talked about vetoing it. Call Mayor Nutter at 215-686-2181, and tell him how important it is to sign this legislation. Tell him everyone gets sick, and everyone deserves a chance to get better.
The mayor has a clear choice, between standing with the corporations that are trying to undermine working people – and standing with working people who are fighting back. This is a crucial moment for our city, which became just the third in the nation to offer these protections to workers. Mayor Nutter must sign this bill so that Philadelphia continues to lead the positive change that workers are making across this country.
If I asked if you could tell me everything that’s wrong with our economy – in just 2 minutes – could you do it?
Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich took to this task in a new video, called “The Truth About the Economy”. In 2 minutes and 15 seconds, he manages to explain exactly why our economy isn’t working – of course, with fun illustrations along the way:
Reich says that since 1980, the economy has doubled in size, but wages remain flat. In fact, all of the economic gains have gone to the “super rich,” as he calls it. With money comes political power, and that means that the super rich have managed to create some pretty favorable tax rates for themselves. That’s nice for them, but it means that we – the ordinary, non-super rich – pay the price when states don’t have enough money for public services and education.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Philadelphia is one of the cities that’s been hit hardest by this economy that favors the super rich. In fact, Philadelphia is home to some of the most prominent members of the super rich community. Take Comcast’s CEO, Brian Roberts, for instance. Roberts managed to bring in over $31 million in compensation in 2010. That’s just a few dollars short of $15,000 an hour.
CEOs like Brian Roberts like to say that tax cuts for the wealthy are necessary to create good jobs. But that’s simply not true. While Roberts makes $15,000 an hour, the average Comcast customer service representative makes only $12.84 an hour.
At a time when Philadelphia’s schools face massive cuts, services are being shut down, and our city’s future is up in the air, it’s time that we take a stand against an economy that only works for the super rich like Comcast’s Brian Roberts.
We’ve had enough of the super rich stacking the deck for themselves. That’s why we need to band together and Fight for Philly.
Despite the heat in Philadelphia today (a whopping 98 degrees and a heat index topping at over 100!) Fight for Philly had a great mix of community members and local activists come out to City Hall to show their support for the earned sick time bill.
The crowd started gathering at 9 AM and by 9:15, Action United and Fight for Philly organizer Fred Jones was leading the group in chants and slogans before members got up to speak on the importance of earned sick leave.
Watch the video here:
The crowd then moved into City Hall and up to the fourth floor to sit in on the public council session. The gallery was so crowded that some of us ended up having to sit on the balcony to oversee the council session.
The session started to heat up during the public comment session dedicated to the new amendments for the bill. Security worker Pablo Negron gave a moving story on the difficulties of choosing between caring for a sick child and losing needed pay – inspiring chants of “paid sick time now!” from the gallery watchers.
Professor Marla McCullogh from Widener University talked about the unique ways the LGBT community is affected by sick time, and how this bill would provide equality for same-sex couples that need to care for a domestic partner.
Finally, we heard from Gabriel Morgan, who made an impassioned argument about the ways a healthy, rested workforce can increase productivity and provide needed support for a successful business. He concluded his testimony by saying that this is simply the right thing to do for the people of Philadelphia. Large cheers from the crowd accompanied his exit.
Next week, the city council is slated to vote on the earned sick days bill. Be sure to come back for all the latest about this piece of legislation and how we take the next step to fight for Philly.
Posted on June 8, 2011 by Barbara Lovelace, North Philadelphia
Last Thanksgiving, when I was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit, my daughter had to make an impossible choice. Would she go to the hospital and risk losing her job, or would she stay behind the check-out counter, knowing that I could die without her being there?
In Philadelphia, 41% of us are forced to choose between going to work sick – or caring for a loved one – or losing a day’s pay.
That’s why we’re having a rally at City Hall on Thursday, June 9th at 9 AM. Join me by RSVPing here:
Philadelphia’s city council is taking up legislation that would fix this problem. This bill would give many workers the ability to take earned sick days.
But we need to urge the City Council that earned sick days would make a difference in the lives of many. That’s why we need you and your friends to come out on Thursday.
This isn’t just about me and my family – it affects all of us. Whether we need to care for an ailing elder, a sick child, or ourselves, there are thousands of people that shouldn’t have to make the same choice as my daughter.