Pennsylvania city workers to take mayor to court over across-the-board minimum wage salaries
I can't figure out if this was a brilliant stunt, a brazen attempt to get a tax increase passed, or simply a strongarm move to get the city unions to play ball. Or it could be a combination of all three - the mayor originally wanted the city to approve a 29% tax hike, for starters; if he were to come back with something more like 10%, think the people of Scranton might approve? In any case, this is the first time I can remember where a leader took such a bold step since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers who went on strike.Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty cut everyone's pay -- including his own -- on Friday, saying the state's sixth-largest city is broke because the City Council blocked his proposed tax increase. Doherty, a Democrat, warned nearly 400 police officers, firefighters and public works employees about his doomsday plan, prompting a Lackawanna County judge to order the city to pay full wages to all employees, citing that it is a violation of their contracts. Hours later, the payday envelopes went out, and, despite the judge's order, they were light.
Now, it's pretty clear hizzoner won't win re-election after this, but this is an interesting tactic. Part of me - the real cynical, Machiavellian part - wonders if this is part of a larger campaign that involves another minimum wage hike. What better to illustrate how pitiful our minimum wage is than to put an entire city's employees on it? They can't pay their mortgages! They can't pay their bills! Of course they can't - because they signed those mortgages and ran up those bills with a salary significantly greater than minimum wage.
The interesting thing to see will be how many employees showed up to work today vs. how many called in "sick"...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)