A New Chapter in the War on Working People

Three years ago the city of Philadelphia passed a law that requires companies with at least 10 employees to give those employees at least five paid sick days a year.

And the Pennsylvania state legislature thinks that’s a terrible idea – and is trying to do something about it.

A state senator recently proposed a law that would bar any cities and towns in Pennsylvania from adopting such a requirement. Even though the legislature started a brand-new session only a few weeks ago, the bill was already approved by a legislative committee. The sponsor’s rationale: “Local mandates such as this create an uneven playing field for the businesses located inside the municipality,” especially small businesses, and “As more governments jump on board, businesses with more than one location are forced to comply with a variety of different and changing mandates.”

Which we all know is a load of you-know-what.

This isn’t about what’s right or wrong or what’s good or bad. It’s about politics and it’s about geography.

The politics part is that the Pennsylvania’s state legislature is now overwhelmingly Republican, and even though the Republican sponsor of the bill found a Democratic stooge to be his co-sponsor, this is about sticking it to working people. What kinds of businesses don’t offer sick pay in a city like Philadelphia? Smaller businesses that employ very low-wage workers, often people of color. If there are three things Republicans don’t respect it’s working people, poorly paid people, and people of color, so a bill like this is a natural for them. That such people usually vote for Democrats is just the cherry on top for these folks.

And the geography part is about the only city in the state that has adopted such a law. Pennsylvania Republicans hate Philadelphia and even a lot of Democrats who don’t live near Philadelphia hate Philadelphia. As The Curmudgeon wrote in his novel Taking Care of Business, doing things to hurt or screw Philadelphia and Philadelphians is the official sport of the Pennsylvania state legislature.

And The Curmudgeon doesn’t think there’s anything anybody can do to stop that proposal from becoming law.

Low-income working people who have the audacity to get sick: the latest victims in the war on working people.

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