Does the Chamber of Commerce Have Standing to Challenge Philadelphia’s Wage Equity Law?

City Hall | Photo by David Gambacorta

Philadelphia’s freshly minted wage equity law was supposed take effect next Tuesday, but the city voluntarily put the brakes on the law pending the resolution of a lawsuit against it. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce seeks a preliminary injunction against the law and the first order of business in court has been to determine whether the Chamber even has standing to challenge the law.

In a brief submitted at the beginning of the month to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the city argued that the Chamber lacks standing mainly because it has failed to reveal exactly which of its members will be affected by the law and how.

“Facts about those alleged members, including their names, practices, and any harms they have suffered, remain a mystery as the Chamber has studiously avoided identifying any individual member that will be harmed,” counsel for the city wrote. The brief also urges the court to question the Chamber about these individual members before looking into the claim that the law impedes employers’ free speech. (We’ve also questioned which Chamber members claim the law will harm them.)  Read more »

City Council Votes to Replace Wells Fargo as Philly Payroll Bank

Images via Flickr.

On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council unanimously approved a bill that will allow the Office of the City Treasurer to replace Wells Fargo as the bank in control of Philadelphia’s $2 billion payroll.

Citizens Bank has already been chosen to take over following an RFP put out last fall by city treasurer Rasheia Johnson. The city began evaluating its relationship with Wells Fargo after it was discovered that bank employees opened millions of fraudulent customer accounts. At the time, Councilwoman Cindy Bass sponsored a resolution to investigate the city’s relationship with the bank and to remove it as payroll handler. Read more »

UPDATED: Council Unanimously Passes Bill Prompted by Gayborhood Racism Complaints

CityHall-940x540

After passing out of City Council’s Health and Human Services committee in a unanimous vote last month, an anti-discrimination bill introduced by Councilman Derek Green that would strengthen penalties against Philadelphia businesses found to discriminate against their employees, tenants, or customers was passed, again unanimously, by Council on Thursday.

“I am thankful that Council has once again demonstrated its allegiance to a culture of inclusion and acceptance in the City of Philadelphia, and hope that businesses and residents alike are reminded that discrimination is unacceptable,” Green said in a statement. Since introducing this bill in November 2016, Green has consistently cited incidents of Gayborhood racism as the genesis of his interest in amending the Fair Practices Ordinance.

Read more »

City Council Passes Immigration Resolution

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Amid heated national debate about so-called sanctuary cities, Philly is making its immigration stance loud and clear.

City Council has passed a resolution this week “recognizing every person’s fundamental right to earn a living, regardless of immigration status, and affirming the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to protect and secure a safe and dignified workplace for all.”  Read more »

South Philly Barbacoa Has Big Plans for 2017

SPB/Facebook

SPB/Facebook

The freedom fighters at South Philly Barbacoa and PAUWR, Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller, are organizing Philly restaurants for a May 1st general strike that will highlight the contributions of undocumented immigrants in the restaurant industry.

The restaurant will be closed on May 1st as part of the planned #ADayWithoutImmigrants strike. And several of the city’s top restaurants have joined them.

Read more »

Bill Prompted by Gayborhood Racism Complaints Passes Out of Committee

Councilman at Large, Derek S. Green, Esq.

Councilman at Large Derek S. Green

On Monday, an anti-discrimination bill introduced by Councilman Derek Green that would strengthen penalties against Philadelphia businesses that discriminate against their employees, tenants, or customers passed unanimously out of Council’s Health and Human Services committee.

In a public statement, Green said that he was prompted to introduce the bill by “public outcry about discrimination in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood and release of a video showing a business owner employing racial slurs.” Read more »

City Council Votes to Halt Electric Vehicle Parking Program

via wellphoto/iStockphoto.com

wellphoto/iStockphoto.com

City Council voted 11-6 this morning to halt Philly’s electric vehicle parking program.

It’s a win for those rallying for more public parking spots in Philly, and bad news for EV car owners – especially those who have likely invested between $4,000 and $5,000 to apply for, secure and install parking spots that double as charging stations (because, you know, you have to plug in and charge EV cars).  Read more »

Philly Lawmakers Weren’t Up for Reelection in 2016, but They Raised $2M

City Council Entrance

Philadelphia City Council members aren’t up for reelection until 2019, but they raised almost $2 million combined last year, according a report by City & State.

Bobby Henon, a former political director for the city’s powerful electricians union, was the most successful fundraiser on Council in 2016. He brought in nearly $366,000, with roughly one-third of that cash coming from PACs connected to electricians union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and other labor groups. Hey, why let a little FBI raid slow you down? Read more »

I Love My Job: Lew Blum

Philly tow guy Lew Blum (center) with artist Marc Brodzik (left) and Philly performer Darren Finizio (right).

Philly tow guy Lew Blum (center) with artist Marc Brodzik (left) and Philly performer Darren Finizio (right).

Is Lew Blum the most hated man in Philadelphia? It’s possible. The 61-year-old owner of Lew Blum Towing is the public face of Philly tow-truck companies, the guy who gets the call when you park your Honda in front of a driveway you didn’t even realize was there. (Or at least you claimed you didn’t.)

Blum is a guy who likes to keep to himself, but he recently came out of the woodwork thanks to a new Philly “ticket to tow” law that he says puts the stranglehold on the towing industry. Business may not be good, but Blum says he still loves it. Read more »

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