"I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but it owes every man an opportunity to make a living."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Jeff’s mother grew up in a union household where a steady paycheck and a decent life were possible with nothing more than a high school diploma and a desire to work hard. Unfortunately that world didn’t exist for all back then and it exists for far less today. Jeff is running for office because he believes that government needs to do more to ensure everyone access to a living wage job.
- Jeff will fight for a living wage for all. Philadelphia has the “highest rates of incarceration, infant mortality, and deep poverty of any of the ten largest American cities” and 37% of our children now live in poverty. This is unacceptable and the first step to addressing it is to raise the minimum wage. Although Jeff supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, even raising it to just $10.10 per hour in Pennsylvania would “boost total wages $1.8 billion … and create 6,000 jobs." Further, forcing corporations to pay living wages would mean 1.7 million U.S. workers nationwide would no longer need government aid such as food stamps and Medicaid and would allow the government to save billions of dollars in expenses that could be spent on education, healthcare or job creation – to name just a few.
- Jeff will fight for the right to unionize. For decades, strong unions protected employees and ensured that workers' pay increased with their employer’s profits. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. The drop in union membership in Pennsylvania "from 27.5 percent in 1983 to 12.7 percent in 2013" has resulted in "increases in wage inequality and a loss of bargaining power for workers.” This decline must be reversed and union membership expanded to new areas given our economy’s shift away from manufacturing to service industry jobs. If we are going to have a service driven economy, then those jobs must pay a living wage and these workers need the right to unionize if their employers refuse to do so.
Jeff will fight against wage theft. Jeff believes that forcing your employees to work off the clock or improperly refusing to pay overtime is theft. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that wage theft is rampant in Pennsylvania with "107,000 Pennsylvania workers or 10% of the minimum wage eligible workforce" falling victim to this practice. Jeff will fight to boost penalties for wage theft and provide additional resources for enforcing existing laws.
- Jeff will fight to update overtime rules. If the standards for overtime laws in effect in 1974 had kept up with inflation, over a quarter of Pennsylvania’s total salaried workers would receive a pay raise – increasing the “pay of above-minium-wage, middle-income workers more than any state or federal policy in decades.”
- Jeff will fight back against companies that replace employees with independent contractors. Too many companies cheat their workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than the employees they truly are. Between 2001 and 2016, "the number [of independent contractors] rose 66%." This practice deprives workers of unemployment and workers' compensation insurance and according to a Temple University study "has placed Pennsylvania workers in jeopardy by making them vulnerable to workplace injury and financial harm."