Philadelphia is one step closer to setting up a permanent agency to protect worker rights!

Working people in Philadelphia have fought HARD for our progressive labor laws, but laws aren’t enough if the city doesn’t have our back when it comes to enforcing them!

Photo via the Philadelphia Inquirer

On February 12th, we marched with the Coalition to Respect Every Worker (CREW) to demand:

-Independent Office of Labor
-Full Funding for Enforcement
-Worker Oversight Board, Whistleblower Protections
-Wall-to-Wall Enforcement
-Community Regrants for Worker Outreach!

On February 13th, City Council UNANIMOUSLY passed a bill to establish an independent office of labor! From the Inquirer:

The bill — introduced by Councilmembers Helen Gym and Bobby Henon in partnership with the Kenney administration — would pose this question to voters in the April primary: Should the city create a permanent Department of Labor that would enforce city labor laws and function as a front door for all worker-related issues?

The question has to be put to voters because it requires a city charter change.

Right now, the Mayor’s Office of Labor, created under the Kenney administration, provides these services, but advocates fear a future mayor with different priorities could scrap the office all together.

This effort is part of a broader push by advocates and organizers for stronger labor law enforcement in a city that’s passed some of the most progressive pro-worker legislation in the country but has historically failed to both educate workers about these laws and enforce them.

That started to change in the last year, as advocates who pushed for these laws set their sights on enforcement. Advocates won a modest increase in funding for the Mayor’s Office of Labor, which grew its budget to nearly $1.1 million this year and doubled its staff to six. The number of complaints filed by workers to the office quadrupled from 2018 to 2019 to nearly 100.

Photo via the Philadelphia Inquirer