It’s been nearly three years since pandemic shutdowns staggered the economy.In just two months, March and April 2020, Massachusetts employers cut 690,000 jobs — nearly one out of five. Unemployment soared to 17 percent from less than 3 percent.There’d been nothing like it, even during the Great Depression. And the aftershocks continue to reverberate across the state, exposing faults in what otherwise seems like a solid job market.Employers added an average of 11,000 jobs a month last year, compared with 4,300 a month in 2019. Yet there were 240,000 open jobs in November, according to the most recent data available. That’s a historically elevated level — the monthly average in the five years before the pandemic was 157,000 openings — that indicates hiring is being held back by a shortage of workers.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Thursday, January 19, 2023
"NEW: The NY Times reveals that low-wage restaurant workers have been unknowingly funding the industry's powerful lobbying arm, the National Restaurant Association, as it worked to kill minimum wage increases around the country.
Here's how the scheme works: " https://twitter.com/MorePerfectUS/status/1615379667825065986
"In 2007, the restaurant lobby (sometimes called "the other NRA") bought ServSafe, an online food safety training company.It then lobbied states to require restaurant workers to take those trainings, producing a reliable stream of paying customers."https://twitter.com/MorePerfectUS/status/1615379959824134145
"Since 2010, 3.6 million workers have paid for ServSave courses, providing $25 million to the NRA—enough to fund all of its lobbying costs, the Times found.
The funding extracted from everyday workers dwarfs the amount that some of the NRA's large corporate donors provide." https://twitter.com/MorePerfectUS/status/1615382543385202688
|New York Times: "How Restaurant Workers Help Pay for Lobbying to Keep Their Wages Low"|
Monday, January 16, 2023
Robert Reich, author and a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, writes:
"When a public problem is wrongly described, the solutions posed often turn out to be irrelevant or inhumane.A current example: America’s so-called “labor shortage”.Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, says the United States has a “structural labor shortage” that’s unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.The US Chamber of Commerce claims there are over 10 million job openings in the US for which employers can’t find workers.Here’s the truth: there is no labor shortage.There is, however, a shortage of jobs paying sufficient wages to attract workers to fill job openings."
|‘If we want more people to take jobs and we wish to live in a decent society, the answer is to pay people more.’ Photograph: Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images|
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Town Council meeting recapped & more as we join TC Quarterbacking with Talk Franklin for this session (audio)
FM #888 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 888 in the series.
This session of the radio show shares the combined Town Council Quarterbacking session with our "Talk Franklin" conversation. I am grateful for the alignment of the schedules to have Town Council Chair Tom Mercer along with Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Asst Administrator Alecia Alleyne. We conducted our conversation via conference bridge.
Topics for this session
PROCLAMATIONS / RECOGNITIONS
Becki Carloni - Franklin Fire Department
PRESENTATIONS / DISCUSSION
Presentation: Recreation Department, Ryan Jette, Director of Recreation
Discussion: Davis-Thayer Reuse Committee
LEGISLATION FOR ACTION
raise to minimum wage &
Increase in opportunity for veterans to take advantage
If a disabled veteran, can have a family member do the work for the benefit
budget adjustment prior to tax rate hearing
TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Franklin Open Space and Recreation Plan Process
Town Council teasers
Tax hearing coming Nov 30
Old South Meeting House
Annual license renewals
The conversation runs about 45 minutes. Let’s listen to my conversation with Tom, Jamie, and Alecia
Town Administrator page -> https://www.franklinma.gov/administrator
Town Council page -> https://www.franklinma.gov/town-council
Nov 16, 2022 agenda ->
Nov 30, 2022 agenda ->
And the Doug Flutie anniversary was indeed on Nov 23, 1984 (the day after we recorded this session) https://www.boston.com/sports/college-sports/2019/11/22/doug-flutie-hail-mary-miracle-in-miami/
This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.
How can you help?
If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don't like something here, please let me know
Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com
The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.
I hope you enjoy!
You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Town Council recognizes Carloni, appoints Wallace, approves license for La Cantina, hears from the Recreation Dept, and more at their Wednesday meeting (video)
The Town Council held their session Wednesday in Council Chambers beginning at 7 PM. One member (Frongillo was remote) so all votes were via roll call. One member absent (Dellorco).
- The meeting opened with recognition of Becki Carloni of the Franklin Fire Department for her off duty life saving effort at a sporting event.
- The appointment of Alison Wallace to the Library Board of Directors was approved.
- The Special License to allow sale of wine at 2022-2023 Franklin Winter Farmers’ Market by La Cantina Winery Company was approved. The first market is this Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM.
- Ryan Jette, Director of Recreation provided an update on the operation of the Recreation Department including near term plans and future plans.
- There was also a discussion on the approach to determine the reuse of Davis Thayer. Consensus was to set up a Reuse Committee of town folks interested in this building and location to make a proposal to the Council for approval. Details on the volunteer application process will be forthcoming and the process will kick off sometime in 2023.
- Legislation to approve of an increase to the minimum wage for both the senior citizen and veterans tax work off programs was approved.
- Legislation to adjust the budget with some transfers and final numbers of state aid, etc. was approved. This had been previewed by the Finance Committee in their meeting last week and unanimously recommended. This adjustment step was needed before the tax rate is set. The hearing for the tax rate is scheduled for the Nov 30 Town Council meeting.
- The Franklin Open Space and Recreation Plan Kickoff Process has begun. The Conservation Commission will lead this effort to update the plan.
|firefighter/paramedic Becki Carloni Listens to Councilor Pellegri read the proclamation|
Sunday, November 13, 2022
a. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by others.b. Chair to identify members participating remotely.
a. Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to three minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda. The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter.
a. Becki Carloni - Franklin Fire Department
a. Library Board of Directors - Alison Wallace https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/5a._appointment_alison_wallace.pdf
a. La Cantina Winery Company, Farmer-Winery, Special License to allow sale of wine at 2022-2023 Franklin Winter Farmers’ Market located at 887 Lincoln Street https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/7a._license_la_cantina_0.pdf
a. Presentation: Recreation Department, Ryan Jette, Director of Recreationb. Discussion: Davis-Thayer Reuse Committee https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/8b._davis_thayer_0.pdf
a. Franklin Open Space and Recreation Plan Kickoff Process https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/10a._ta_report_-_dpcd_memo_-_osrp_update_process_summary_-_11032022.pdf
a. Capital Budget Subcommitteeb. Economic Development Subcommitteec. Budget Subcommitteed. GATRA Advisory Board
a. Considering the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property, because an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the Public Body
Saturday, August 14, 2021
"there isn’t a single US county where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a modest two-bedroom rental"
"Nearly half of American workers do not earn enough to rent a one-bedroom apartment, according to new data.Rents in the US continued to increase through the pandemic, and a worker now needs to earn about $20.40 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom rental. The median wage in the US is about $21 an hour.The data, from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, shows that millions of Americans – from Amazon warehouse workers to cab drivers to public school teachers – are struggling to pay rent. For the poorest Americans, market-rate housing is out of reach in virtually all of the country."
|Guardian graphic. Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition. Note: In 2021 dollars|
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
"a rare opportunity—and a responsibility—to reimagine the path towards what I call “back to better”"
An excerpt from Senate President Karen Spilka's remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, April 13, 2021:
"I have been particularly struck by the statistics on the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on women in the workplace. Before the pandemic, women in Massachusetts were participating in the workforce at increasing rates, surpassing the national rate by 2019 – but the pandemic has brought women back to where they were after the 2009 recession. In fact, the percentage of women participating in the U.S. labor market in October 2020 was the lowest since 1988.
It is clear to me that if we wish to have a full and equitable recovery, we must take a close look at the factors that affect women’s employment, at every level and in every sector, and one clear factor that we must address is caregiving. In the same way that we learned to diversify our sectors after the last recession, we are now learning that we must support and strengthen the caregiving sector in Massachusetts so that we can support working families across the Commonwealth.
Almost exactly one year ago today, I appeared before this Chamber, in what was your first ever virtual forum, if you can believe it, and declared that childcare was as important to our infrastructure as roads and bridges in getting people back to work. The struggles of the past year have borne this out, which is why I have pushed the Legislature to begin to address the need for childcare, including providing for emergency childcare for essential workers, increasing rates for early education providers, and dedicating $40 million for a new reserve to cover parent fees for those receiving subsidized childcare. We also established the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission to review childcare funding and make recommendations on policy changes to expand access.
With the promise of over $500 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan, we are well-poised to make more strides in making childcare more accessible and affordable, and I look forward to working with all of you to dedicate our best thinking towards tackling this problem, both in the public and private sectors.
But childcare is just one piece of what many are calling a “caregiving crisis”–a storm that has been brewing on our horizon for a few years, but which COVID-19 has turned into a full-blown tsunami. Many people, mostly women, who work in non-caregiving professions, but are sandwiched between aging parents and growing children, have dropped out of the workforce in alarming numbers to care for those who rely on them, while too many Black and brown women who work in caregiving professions have been crushed by the job losses of the economic downturn, with devastating results for their families and communities. As we all feel the squeeze of this caregiving crisis, is it any surprise that we are facing a mental health crisis as well?
But this is Massachusetts, my friends, and I know we can do better. "
|"a rare opportunity—and a responsibility—to reimagine the path towards what I call “back to better”"|
Thursday, December 31, 2020
"The new year will be an important one for workers’ rights in Massachusetts. Here are three key pieces of legislation that will take effect in 2021. The trio is part of a large labor and wages bill passed in 2018, known as the grand bargain. Advocates say several of the measures will help workers desperately in need of relief during the pandemic. In addition, starting this year workers will be eligible for holiday pay on Juneteenth, after officials recognized it as a state holiday.
1. Paid family and medical leave
Starting next year, all employees in Massachusetts will have access to paid family and medical leave that will allow up to 12 weeks of family leave and up to 20 weeks of medical leave, with the guarantee that they would be restored to their same or equivalent positions, with the same status, pay, and employment benefits."
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Fair Workweek testimony
Minimum wage increaseimpact
|MassBudget: Workers' Policies That Work For Everyone|
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
"Less than a year after lawmakers struck a so-called “grand bargain” to increase minimum wages for all workers, advocates are mounting a new push to ensure tipped workers receive the same base wage as all other hourly employees.
In all but seven states, the minimum wage for service employees who can earn gratuities — many of whom work in the restaurant industry — is lower than the standard rate. Massachusetts has one of the largest gaps in the country, with a minimum wage of $12 per hour and a minimum tipped wage of $4.35 per hour.
The divide will persist as increases under the new law take effect and the standard minimum wage rises to $15 an hour by 2023 and the minimum tipped wage climbs to $6.75.
Legislation re-filed last week by Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier would effectively eliminate the separate rate for service workers and include everyone under the larger standard minimum wage."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
For more about One Fair Wage http://onefairwage.com/about/
|For more about One Fair Wage http://onefairwage.com/about/|
Wednesday, January 23, 2019