COUNCIL PRESIDENT CLARKE URGES PA HOUSE TO DROP ANTI-WORKER BILLS

In Cherelle Parker, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, News by PHL Council

Also Joins All Members of Council to Call For Swift Action on Bill to Protect Domestic Abuse Victims From Gun Violence

Philadelphia, Sept. 20, 2018 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday urged members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to stand with workers and reject bills designed to weaken labor protections.

A number of bills attacking workers’ rights and pay – House Bill 861, House Bill 2571, House Bill 2593 – are scheduled to be voted on by the House Labor & Industry Committee on Monday, September 24th.

House Bill 861 would give the General Assembly authorization to preempt and retroactively repeal municipal employment-related ordinances, such as laws banning discrimination against LBGTQ persons, laws protecting workers against sexual discrimination or harassment, and laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave – all of which are on the books in Philadelphia.

According to the Women’s Law Project, a public interest legal center devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women and girls in Pennsylvania: “Philadelphia’s paid sick days ordinance also provides paid leave to employees whose absence is related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This ordinance is vital for the health and well-being of women and their families in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, giving paid sick leave to more than 200,000 workers.”

Council President Clarke said, “While partisan gridlock and dysfunction rule in too many state capitols, cities like Philadelphia are taking the lead on advancing the causes of justice and equity. Philadelphia is a national leader on protections for LGBTQ persons – who unbelievably still face lawful employment and housing discrimination elsewhere in Pennsylvania, depending on which township or borough you step into. Instead of moving forward on enacting a ban on LBGTQ discrimination, the Pennsylvania House Labor Committee is considering bills that would strip workers of their hard-fought rights and protections.”

House Bills 2571 and 2593 were introduced following the U.S. Supreme Court’s misguided Janus vs. AFSCME ruling against fair share fees paid to support collective bargaining expenses on behalf of protected workers.

“These bills are clearly designed to further dismantle the ability to unionize and collectively bargain for the rights and protections all workers should have, regardless of their union membership status. At a time when workers across the country are slipping further behind, elected leaders should be working to lift them up – not kick them when they’re down. I urge members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to reject House Bills 2571 and 2593.”

Also on Thursday, the City Council of Philadelphia unanimously passed a resolution calling on the PA House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 501, which would toughen requirements regarding firearms surrender for domestic abusers and those subject to Protection From Abuse orders. The resolution was introduced by Councilmember Cherelle Parker (9th District) last week and co-sponsored by all members of Council, including President Clarke.

“Senate Bill 501 is not about the Second Amendment; it is a common sense solution to the epidemic of intimate partner homicides – which too often occur when a woman is attempting to leave an abusive environment,” said Councilmember Parker, who previously served as leader of the Philadelphia House Delegation. “Intimate partner abuse comes in many forms that government cannot always prevent, but we can certainly stop abusers from having access to firearms. The tragedy of intimate partner homicide is deeply personal to those of us on City Council, and I join with President Clarke in urging the Pennsylvania House to move quickly on Senate Bill 501 during the handful of legislative days left on their calendar this year.”

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Photo: Ruhrfisch used under Creative Commons license.

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