Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

An anonymous source just forwarded me a very interesting email concerning Pennsylvania’s threat to require its employees to work with delayed pay.  While it’s already been fairly well established that federal labor law will apply, our Governor and our legislature seem to think that it does not.  I can not fathom why they would put Pennsylvania taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in civil damages by breaking the law.

At any rate, the US Department of Labor — the federal agency tasked with enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act — seems to disagree with them.  And Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)), decided almost a quarter century ago, says that government workers are, in fact, protected by the FLSA.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse ’09: Part II

AFSCME to the Rescue!

With an impending budget impasse, AFSCME — the union to which most Pennsylvania civil service employees pay dues, regardless of whether they’re a member or not — has come forward in full support of its members with guns a-blazin’.  Earlier this week, AFSCME finally updated their website to reference the impending stop-pay scenario with helpful links to unemployment resources.

There’s just one problem with that:


We can not collect unemployment because we are still employed.  I’m not clear on which is worse; being laid off and collecting unemployment, or being forced to work without a paycheck.  Oh sure, we’ll get paid — but it will be somewhere between 1 and 52 weeks late.  I’m sure Honda, Sallie Mae, my mortgage company, and my credit card company will all understand.  And I’m positive Giant will be willing to just let me take whatever food I need and pay for it “later”.

Thanks, guys.  Big help.  Glad to see you’re on this.

Another Year, Another Budget Impasse

Once again, our fearless leaders have warned us that they may fail to pass a budget this year.  What’s different this time around is that instead of furloughing non-critical state employees, Governor Ed Rendell has assured all of us that we will continue to report to work no matter what happens.  Only, we won’t get paid after June 30th.

There’s an interesting law on the books — one that I’m very familiar with, having used it against a former employer — called the Pennsylvania Wage Payment And Collection Act of 1961.  It’s a very simple law to read, and I suggest everyone (state employee or not) take a look at it.  In short, it states that your employer must pay you on your regular payday, that your employer can not delay payment under any circumstances, and that your employer can not waive your rights by making you sign an agreement.  In other words, if you work, you must get paid.  Period.  The act even goes on to clarify that this explicitly applies to salary, hourly rate, commission, and so on.  It’s a pretty open-and-shut law:  If you work, you must get paid on time.

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Go Go, Fake Sarah Palin!

One of the funniest regulars on Twitter is @FakeSarahPalin.  If you’re not following her, you’ll want to start immediately; she just announced that she’ll be liveTweeting tonight’s VP debate.

This is America and I will *not* debate with a French moderator ESPECIALLY THE ONE THEY NAMED THE IFILL TOWER AFTER


Continue reading Go Go, Fake Sarah Palin!