Senate parliamentarian strikes down minimum wage hike in latest COVID-19 relief bill – YouTube

Senate parliamentarian strikes down minimum wage hike in latest COVID-19 relief bill

Progressives are willing to accept defeat on the minimum wage for now and vote for President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. But they’re channeling their energy into a renewed push to kill the filibuster.

One day after the Senate parliamentarian effectively forced a $15 minimum wage hike out of Democrats’ coronavirus relief package, leading liberal activists are racing to turn their bitter setback into opportunity. The need to sacrifice a key Biden priority in order to ensure the Covid aid bill can pass the Senate with a simple majority has handed progressive lawmakers and their allied groups a new talking point in their long-running quest to eliminate the legislative filibuster.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/26/progressives-minimum-wage-defeat-471772

$15 minimum wage won’t cover living costs for many Americans

  • Democrats want a $15 minimum wage policy to be included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan.
  • A $15 hourly pay scale would more than double the current $7.25 federal minimum wage.
  • It still wouldn’t offer a living wage to low-paid single adults and families in many areas, according to a CNBC analysis of state cost-of-living data.

Democrats are pushing to get a $15 federal minimum wage into President Joe Biden’s Covid relief package. For many, that pay still wouldn’t be enough.

Source: $15 minimum wage won’t cover living costs for many Americans

White House Press Aide TJ Ducklo Resigns Over Threats Against Reporter : NPR

The White House deputy press secretary resigned Saturday, a day after he was suspended for threatening and harassing a journalist who was pursuing a story on his relationship with another reporter.

Source: White House Press Aide TJ Ducklo Resigns Over Threats Against Reporter : NPR

Report shows natural gas fracking didn’t produce promised jobs to Pa. and Appalachia | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

While still recovering from the Great Recession of 2008-2009, natural gas drilling — aka fracking — appeared in the Pittsburgh region and claimed to be able to offer economic relief. One of the first major energy players to move into the Pittsburgh region and greater Appalachia was Range Resources. The Texas-based oil and gas company claimed that fracking would lead to economic benefits beyond just those made from extracting natural gas.

In an October 2012 commercial, Range Resources claimed Pittsburgh is the place “where manufacturing will become American again” and ends with the tagline, “Drilling is just the beginning.” Those manufacturing gains never materialized, and the Pittsburgh region has lost several thousand manufacturing jobs since 2012.

And according to a new report from the Ohio River Valley Institute, that was just one of several failed economic promises natural gas companies made to the Pittsburgh area, Appalachia, and the Marcellus and Utica Shale region.

Source: Report shows natural gas fracking didn’t produce promised jobs to Pa. and Appalachia | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Gov. Wolf hopes to increase Pa. minimum wage to $12 by 2021, and $15 by 2027 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On Feb. 8, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) held a press conference to reaffirm his belief in increasing the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, and outlined a plan that would incrementally raise minimum wage to $15 an hour, from its current rate of $7.25 an hour.

At his press conference, Wolf emphasized that $7.25, which a press release called “embarrassingly low,” can no longer be considered a livable wage, as the cost of food, gas, housing, and other essential services have gone up. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage was last increased in 2009, when the federal minimum wage requirement increased.

“Too many essential workers are earning poverty wages while putting themselves at risk to keep our society running,” said Wolf in a press release. “They keep food on shelves, move crucial supplies, take care of our children, and support people with disabilities. And thousands of them earn poverty wages. These hardworking people deserve better. They deserve a living wage.”

Source: Gov. Wolf hopes to increase Pa. minimum wage to $12 by 2021, and $15 by 2027 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Keystone Oaks teachers plan to go on strike Monday – Post Gazette

By Hallie Lauer:

The teachers at Keystone Oaks School District announced Sunday that they will go on strike Monday, as they and the district’s board of school directors have not yet reached an agreement on a new contract.

Classes are canceled until further notice. However, the district must complete 180 days of school by June 15, according to state law, which leaves the union only six days to strike.

That means the strike can last no longer than Feb. 9, based on the number of makeup days the district has remaining.

“Our hope is that an agreement can be reached and students can return to classes as soon as possible,” Superintendent William Stropkaj said in a statement on the school district’s website.

The teachers association had originally announced on Jan. 22 that they had intentions to strike Feb. 1. Pennsylvania state law requires at least a 48-hour notice for teachers to strike.

After negotiations on Thursday and Sunday, the two groups were not able to come to an agreement.

“When we met today, we came to the realization that neither one of us were going to compromise,” association president Kevin Gallagher said. “It just wasn’t going to happen, as sad as that is. I understand that this does not look good in terms of a pandemic, but this is the third time we’ve been in this situation with the district in the last four years, and we just can’t stand for it anymore.”

Currently, there are no negotiation meetings scheduled, according to Mr. Gallagher. The association is willing to meet at a neutral site off campus to continue discussions, he said.

Teachers will be picketing at Aiken, Dormont and Myrtle elementary schools as well as at the Keystone Oaks high school and middle school complex beginning Monday.

Keystone Oaks teachers have been without a contract since June. 30, 2020.

Athletic practices and games will continue as normal for sports that are in season, according to the announcement.

The free meals program also will continue with curbside pick-up at each building.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the district was operating on a hybrid schedule where students attend classes in person and online throughout the week.

Hallie Lauer: hlauer@post-gazette.com

Source: Keystone Oaks teachers plan to go on strike tomorrow

Progressives Democrats urge Biden to consider recurring stimulus checks – Business Insider

In a letter on Thursday, the group said Biden’s proposal of a one-time direct payment worth $1,400 would only “provide a temporary lifeline.”

  • Over 50 progressive Democrats urged President Joe Biden on Thursday to consider sending recurring stimulus checks to Americans.
  • The letter, signed by Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others, doesn’t specify an amount, but the group has previously shown support for $2,000.
  • Biden has proposed a one-time direct payment of $1,400 in his stimulus proposal.

Source: Progressives Democrats urge Biden to consider recurring stimulus checks – Business Insider

Third stimulus check: When could you get a $1,400 check? – CBS News

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan proposes a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 for most Americans. Yet while that could extend a helping hand to millions of households still suffering from the pandemic’s economic fallout, it could be months until the payments arrive, analysts say.

The price tag for the relief package, called the American Rescue Plan, is likely to face pushback from Republican lawmakers, who last year resisted Democratic efforts to pass a $2 trillion bill. Heights Securities analyst Hunter Hammond expects the ultimate package to be trimmed to $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion. But most analysts think lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will back the $1,400 direct payments, which economists view as a lifeline for many cash-strapped workers who lost their jobs or have seen their income plummet during the pandemic.

Support for another stimulus package may gain steam given several developments that point to widening economic distress as the pandemic worsens, according to Ed Mills, an analyst with investment bank Raymond James. A weaker outlook for the labor market, with a bigger-than-expected 1 million jobless claims during the first week of January, as well as record number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, could push lawmakers to support Mr. Biden’s plan for additional stimulus, analysts say.

Source: Third stimulus check: When could you get a $1,400 check? – CBS News

Student loans: Biden will extend payment deferrals until October – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)President-elect Joe Biden will direct the Department of Education Wednesday to extend the suspension of federal student loan payments and interest.

Borrowers will not have to make payments until October 1 at the earliest, extending the already unprecedented pause on payments by eight months.
When the economy began to shut down in response to the pandemic in March, Congress passed a sweeping relief bill that automatically suspended student loan payments and waived interest. The benefit was originally set to expire in September, but was extended by the Trump administration until January 31.
Both the pause on payments and interest waiver is automatic, but only applies to federally held loans.
That covers roughly 85% of all federal student loans, including those known as direct federal loans and PLUS loans that parents have taken out on behalf of their children. It excludes some federal loans that are guaranteed by the government but not technically held by it. Generally, those were disbursed prior to 2010.
Balances were frozen in March 2020, though borrowers are allowed to continue making payments. Those enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness payment plan will still receive credit as if they had continued paying, as long as they are still working full time for qualifying employers.

Source: Student loans: Biden will extend payment deferrals until October – CNNPolitics

Pittsburgh casting call for extras in Sandra Oh-starring Netflix dramedy ‘The Chair’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The show is written and created by Amanda Peet and executive produced by the creators of “Game of Thrones.”

A few lucky local actors who meet very specific qualifications may soon get the opportunity to work on a new Netflix show set to film in the Pittsburgh area.

The Pittsburgh Film Office announced in December that Netflix series “The Chair,” starring Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), would be filming in the Pittsburgh region in the near future. The show will be written and co-created by Amanda Peet, mostly known for her acting work, and executive produced by “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff (Ms. Peet’s husband) and D.B. Weiss.

“The Chair” is a six-episode dramedy that is part of the $200 million “multiyear film and TV” deal Netflix struck with Benioff and Weiss in August 2019.

Source: Pittsburgh casting call for extras in Sandra Oh-starring Netflix dramedy ‘The Chair’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

People at the US Capitol riot are being identified and losing their jobs. Saccone resigns from St Vincent – CNN

At least three men have lost their jobs as a result of their involvement in the unrest at the US Capitol Wednesday.

Rick Saccone, a former Pennsylvania state representative, shared images on his Facebook page of himself outside the Capitol. Saint Vincent College, where Saccone served as an adjunct professor, immediately began an investigation, according to Michael Hustava, the institution’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.
“As a result of that investigation, Dr. Saccone has submitted and we have accepted his letter of resignation, effective immediately. He will no longer be associated with Saint Vincent College in any capacity,” Hustava said in a statement provided to CNN.
“I decided to resign for the betterment of the school,” Saccone told the Tribune-Review, a news outlet in Western Pennsylvania, about his departure. “I’ve been there 21 years. I didn’t want all this terrible media kerfuffle to tarnish the school. I decided it would be better if I just resigned.”

Source: People at the US Capitol riot are being identified and losing their jobs – CNN

Minimum wage increase, new sick leave law in effect in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. — The minimum wage is going up in New York in 2021, and a new sick leave law is coming into effect.

Employees at most businesses can start using sick days that the new law allowed them to start accruing in September.

The rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office says about 1.3 million New Yorkers didn’t have access to paid sick leave before the law.

Also, the hourly minimum wage is now $14 an hour in Long Island and Westchester and $12.50 in the rest of the state.

Source: Minimum wage increase, new sick leave law in effect in NY

U.S. jobless benefit cut-off pushes millions to financial cliff-edge. Trump wants more in the bill | Reuters

The new relief bill would extend through mid-March programs that support self-employed workers and those unemployed for more than half a year. It also gives an additional $300 a week through mid-March to all those receiving jobless benefits, some 20.3 million people. And it extends through January a moratorium on evictions due to expire on Dec. 31 and provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance.

Negotiated by Trump’s own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the Republican Party’s congressional leaders, the bill has been flown to the president’s Florida beach resort where he is staying for the holiday, awaiting his possible signature. In tweets on Saturday, Trump signaled he was still unwilling to sign the bill, despite pleas from lawmakers to show goodwill at Christmas time.

“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600,” he tweeted Saturday, referring to the bill’s stimulus checks, while he also continued to rail about the November election as he made baseless claims about election fraud.

Source: U.S. jobless benefit cut-off pushes millions to financial cliff-edge | Reuters

Waitress gets $2K tip but restaurant refuses to give her a cent

A Texas waitress says she was thrilled to receive a $2,000 tip on a bill — only to find out from the restaurant that she won’t take home a single cent.

Emily Bauer had only been a server for about two weeks when she was scheduled for a busy Sunday shift at Red Hook Seafood and Bar in San Antonio, news station KVUE reported.

While working all the tables, she kept apologizing to a man seated in her section for “being slow.”

“He was just like, ‘I understand.’ He also mentioned he owned restaurants, so he knew how hard it was to be a server,” Bauer said.

“He was like, ‘Just cancel everything. Cancel everything and give me the ticket.’ So, I said okay. I gave him the ticket.”

Bauer said she didn’t notice until he left that he had given her a $2,000 tip and wrote a note that said, “Merry Christmas! Keep working hard!”

“I was like, wait. I just opened it and started crying. I was like, ‘Oh my God! My kids! I’m going to spend it all on my kids,’” said Bauer, who has two sons, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’ve never had a Christmas where I’ve been able to like splurge on them.’”

But she said her excitement was quickly dashed when the restaurant told her it can’t process a tip larger than $500.

Other servers suggested that the restaurant give her four separate tips of $500, but the seafood joint refused, KVUE reported.

It is unclear why the restaurant couldn’t process $500 of the $2,000 tip to give to Bauer, in line with its limits.

Source: Waitress gets $2K tip but restaurant refuses to give her a cent

Live! Casino Pittsburgh Holds Grand Opening, Opens To The Public For First Time – CBS Pittsburgh

HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — After months of construction and planning, Live! Casino Pittsburgh at Westmoreland Mall will open to the public today.That project has brought a lot of jobs to the area and opening in the middle of a pandemic is no easy feat.The casino will hold its grand opening on Tuesday morning, not too much longer before those doors open and people get to press their luck.
With the casino opening during the Coronavirus pandemic, safety measures will be in place.There will be mask requirements, temperature checks, physical distancing, and repeated cleaning of high-traffic areas, slot machines, and table games.

Source: Live! Casino Pittsburgh Holds Grand Opening, Opens To The Public For First Time – CBS Pittsburgh

Giant Eagle Looking To Hire 600 Pittsburgh-Area Workers – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Giant Eagle is looking to hire 600 people.

The company is looking to fill 600 permanent full and part-time jobs across their Pittsburgh-area Giant Eagle and Market District stores.

Socially-distant in-person hiring events at more than two dozen local locations will be held Nov. 9-13 from 1-6 p.m. People can meet with recruits and have the opportunity for same-day job offers. Masks will be required.

If you’re interested, visit jobs.gianteagle.com/recruiting-events.

Source: Giant Eagle Looking To Hire 600 Pittsburgh-Area Workers – CBS Pittsburgh

Walmart Scraps Plan to Have Robots Scan Shelves – WSJ

The retail giant is ending its push to have machines developed by Bossa Nova Robotics rove stores to keep track of inventory, after discovering during the coronavirus pandemic that humans can help get similar results.

Walmart Inc. has ended its effort to use roving robots in store aisles to keep track of its inventory, reversing a yearslong push to automate the task with the hulking machines after finding during the coronavirus pandemic that humans can help get similar results.

The retail giant has ended its contract with robotics company Bossa Nova Robotics Inc., with which it joined over the past five years to gradually add six-foot-tall inventory-scanning machines to stores. Walmart had made the robots a frequent topic of conversation…

Source: Walmart Scraps Plan to Have Robots Scan Shelves – WSJ

Westmoreland commissioner claims county pay raises result of political threat | TribLIVE.com

Acting as the county’s salary board, Republican commissioners Sean Kertes and Doug Chew, along with Republican Controller Jeff Balzer, approved the financial package for the auditors. It’s a move Balzer said was needed to retain a quality staff and was recommended by the county’s human resources department.

Gina Cerilli, a second-term Democrat, claimed Balzer threatened to shutter his auditing department and hire outside staff to complete those mandated functions should the proposed raises be rejected.

Balzer denied that a threat was made but conceded that during a private meeting last week he suggested that the hiring of an outside firm to perform the county’s routine auditing would be costly.

“It was a talking point and I don’t have the authority to do that,” Balzer said. “Once again, she’s exposed her inexperience in government and claims she knows everything.”

Kertes and Chew, first-term Republicans, supported the raises and said they were cheaper than hiring private auditors.

Source: Westmoreland commissioner claims county pay raises result of political threat | TribLIVE.com