Page 1

Before the union

Labor leaders look back on early wages

Lou Barletta's seeking a second act

The Trump Republican has ambitions to be the next governor

The thinner blue line

Police work to build back their ranks







Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Most Powerful People in Labor Join us as we celebrate the 2021 Pennsylvania Labor Power 100 at the Mosholu in Philadelphia! The list spotlights the most powerful people from labor unions, government, advocacy, business, and beyond. Let’s celebrate those recognized with top labor leaders at an event you don’t want to miss


Jennifer Berrier Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS Laborers’ Local Union 57 Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 19 Philadelphia Works, Inc.

Amalgamated Family of Companies AFSCME13 Ullico Casualty Group General Building Contractors Association

For more information about City & State Events, please contact For information about advertising and sponsorship opportunities, please contact

9 . 14 . 21 6:00-8:00 PM Moshulu - Philadelphia, PA

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania

Contents | SEPTEMBER 2021



ACT OF DUTY Police across the state are working to build back their ranks EDITOR’S NOTE … 4


AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka’s long-lasting impressions on the labor movement


Doug Mastriano and Jake Corman have been the subjects of social media mudslinging

FIRST JOBS EVER … 8 Some of the state’s top labor leaders share where they worked in high school


Two professors and a CEO break down what critical race theory is


As Congress considers the PRO Act, there are arguments for and against it


LABOR POWER 100 … 29



We examine the great minimum wage debate in Pennsylvania The most prominent figure Republicans have put forth towards the governor’s race

Names to know in Pennsylvania organized labor

Who was up and who was down last month


CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021





THE ORGANIZED LABOR MOVEMENT lost a legend last month with the death of Richard Trumka, a Democratic Party ally who was famous for defending workers’ rights, workplace safety, democracy and fairness. After news broke of Trumka’s death, tributes and condolences began to pour in on the AFL-CIO website. Everyone from Bob Casey to Elizabeth Dole to Joe Biden remembered him as a steadfast leader, a fierce warrior and a trusted friend. The mark Trumka left behind speaks volumes. Many would argue that unions helped build the middle class – not just in Pennsylvania, but across the nation. So, we thought it would be a good time to introduce a new member of City & State PA’s advisory board. The board is tasked with helping our editorial staff prepare and vet our power lists. Members offer their insights and diversity of opinions about the relative influence each list-maker has within their respective fields as we carefully craft our lists each month. Joining the board is Tricia Mueller, a former longtime political director for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and former national political director for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Mueller founded Groundwork Strategies in 2016, a women-owned and operated public affairs and political consultancy firm with offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, N.J. In her job, she helps businesses understand the language of labor unions. This month’s issue is packed with research articles, analysis and trend pieces and features that affect labor leaders. Our cover story is a personality profile that explores the gubernatorial bid of former congressman and Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta – the once polarizing figure in Pennsylvania politics who allied himself with Donald Trump, but now may be attempting to distance himself from the former president Tricia Mueller Board member in an effort to gain bipartisan support. We tackled what it would mean if Congress passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, effectively making it easier for workers to form unions. We examine both sides of the coin when it comes to minimum wage – what a hike would mean for lower income families as well as business owners. We look at what police departments across the state are doing to grow their ranks and attract new recruits – especially minorities. And as kids go back to school, we ask a few local experts what the big debate is over critical race theory. And we hope you’ll join us for our next event on Sept. 14, when we celebrate the Pennsylvania Labor Power 100 at the Moshulu in Philly. Now, I’d better get back to work, because you know what they say: You’re either working hard or you’re hardly working.

Congratulates our President

Lynne Fox

being named one of the 2021 Pennsylvania Labor Power 100

Workers United is a labor union 80,000 members strong, across the US and Canada. Our members work in hospitality, food service, laundries, manufacturing, distribution, apparel and textile, and non-profit organizations. We are the sons and daughters of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers, the Textile Workers, the Textile Processors, UNITE and HERE. We carry on their legacies and work hard for our members


The Philadelphia Joint Board, Workers United Is proud to celebrate one of Pennsylvania’s Most Powerful People in Labor Our Manager, Lynne Fox


Manager President, Workers United IU


Assistant Manager Vice-President, Workers United IU





Board of Directors Chair

September 2021

The GOP push for a forensic audit of last year’s election has sure stirred up some party infighting on social media. By Jenny DeHuff

City & State Pennsylvania


Senator Doug Mastriano 33rd District I don’t know why Senator Corman obstructed my investigation for so long or why he has now hijacked it. What I do know is that if it were up to Senator Corman, there would be no investigation for him to steal. Wendy Rogers Arizona State Senator Pennsylvania it is time to PUSH BACK. Don’t let disgusting SWAMPER JAKE CORMAN lie to you like this. Expose him and win.

Liz Harrington Donald Trump spokesperson Why do RINOs always prefer to work “behind the scenes”? We want a transparent audit led by Mastriano! Not a con job by Corman who already has lied, stone walled the audit, and is now smearing @dougmastriano, who without, the audit would not be possible!

Senator Dan Laughlin 49th District If two sides want to fight over a year-old election, I advise them to take it outside. We have real work to do in the Capitol.

LIP DISSERVICE Teddy Daniels Pro Trump Republican for U.S. Congress Just tried calling @JakeCorman to tell him he needs to resign. PA is done with Swampy politicians. And since he decided to fire @dougmastriano staff, I am volunteering for free. @realLizUSA @RudyGiuliani @JennaEllisEsq @BernardKerik

Senator Doug Mastriano 33rd District “I received word earlier today that @JakeCorman has removed my entire Harrisburg staff and they will now be forced to report to him. The 33rd district is now without any staff in Harrisburg. This petty move is unbecoming of a Senate ‘Leader.’”

CityAndStatePA .com


Top union bosses share with us their first jobs ever.

September 2021

By Jenny DeHuff


TARTING WORK AT a young age instills pride, responsibility and understanding the value of a dollar. It creates a sense of independence, builds confidence and helps young people get to know the real world. One thing that can be said for everyone on our Labor Power 100 – they’ve all worked hard to get where they are today – and that hard work started when they were kids. Some were earning their own money well before they could drive. But it’s those experiences that set them on the paths for the careers they enjoy today. Here are some of those jobs that were had before there was collective bargaining.

DIANE MASTRULL President, NewsGuild Local 38010

RICHARD ASKEY President, Pennsylvania State Education Association “I was a busboy at a local Big Boy restaurant when I was 15. I learned the importance of being part of a team and carrying your weight. I also learned how much I hate doing dishes.”

“I worked at Chipper’s Big Dipper soft ice cream stand right around the corner from my beloved Pennsbury High School. I would go on to work at Carvel and then, all through college to pay for my schooling, I worked at Baskin-Robbins. What I learned: The soft-serve swirl has to be positioned in the cone just right to avoid it dropping into the vat of chocolate dip top when you’re trying to apply that yummy quick-to-solidify waxy coating! And working at a job you love makes even not being asked to the prom bearable.”



September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


SHEILA IRELAND Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor and Industry “In high school, when I was in the 10th grade, I had a typing class. I actually loved banging away on the manual typewriters we had back then. So, my teacher offered me a job helping a friend of hers who was writing her Ph.D. thesis. For $2 per hour for four hours a week, I typed her thesis. It was horrible. As a high school kid, I hadn’t the faintest idea what she was writing about, so I was bored to tears. But my parents would not let me quit, so I stuck it out. My mom kept my first check for $8, and still has it to this day.”

MATT YARNELL President, SEIU Healthcare PA

ESTEBAN VERA, JR. Business Manager, Laborers Local 57

“My first job was working at Long John Silver’s. I was 15 years old and made $4.05/ hr. I learned what it meant to work hard as part of a team and how important it is to develop relationships with your coworkers. It was also where I learned the power in collective action.”

“I was lucky enough to be making $2.25 an hour cleaning the PECO meters. They would come in crates into our high school. So, I would spend a couple hours a day after school there working. I learned the importance of needing a union!”

JOHN DOUGHERTY Business Manager, IBEW Local 98 “I had three jobs in high school – seven days a week – a newspaper route (Inquirer) with my brother, Kevin. We covered 10 city blocks. Most of my pay came through tips. I worked at a corner store at 3rd and Jackson stocking shelves and slicing deli meats. And I worked at the Red Garter Saloon at the Jersey Shore where North Wildwood and Anglesea meet. Through all of it, I learned the value of a strong work ethic and how to work with people.”


CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021


Why is critical race theory so controversial?

Authorities in public policy, history and education explain what CRT actually is.

By Harrison Cann


RITICAL RACE THEORY has quickly become a catchphrase in politics and education. As conservative groups have deemed its teachings as “indoctrination,” more than a dozen Republican-backed bills have been introduced in the last year in an attempt to ban critical race theory in schools throughout the U.S. The wave reached Pennsylvania in June when state Rep. Russ Diamond introduced House Bill 1532. Diamond’s bill seeks to prohibit any curriculum that teaches “that any race or sex is superior to another, that any individual based on their race or sex is inherently racist or sexist, or that any individual should receive favorable treatment or be discriminated against based on their race or sex.” Like many conversations around the topic, Diamond’s bill doesn’t directly address what critical race theory is. If this discussion is going to continue when lawmakers return in the fall, everyone should know what they’re talking about. City & State reached out to some experts on the subject to try and understand what critical race theory is, how it relates to education and what the potential impacts are of policies banning certain teachings. Dr. Scott Hancock, professor of History and Africana studies at Gettysburg College, Rogers Smith, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and Sharif El-Mekki, CEO at the Center for Black Educator Development, were able to provide insight into the topic and offer their perspectives on the issue. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity.

SCOTT HANCOCK: Most of what I’ve seen in public discussions, and in some of the state legislation that’s been proposed or passed in various states, including Pennsylvania, that what they’re identifying as critical race theory (CRT) is not CRT. I read some of that stuff and I think, “Okay, I’ve been teaching this stuff for 25 years and I’ve never read or heard any critical race theory scholars say that.” A lot of it is either a misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, or just intentional distortion


To start us off, can you define critical race theory and what it teaches?


City & State Pennsylvania


September 2021


CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

“Critical race theory is a lens for people to be able to apply to law and see how racial injustice and racism has been baked in many laws in the history of America.” –Sharif El-Mekki, CEO at the Center for Black Educator Development

originally developed by people like Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw and was used in the highest levels of academia. What does CRT have to do with K-12 education? SCOTT HANCOCK: What is kind of fascinating, and in some ways scary, is that it’s never really been a part of K-12 education. I think it formally got its name as CRT in about 1989. But the people who were writing and contributing to this body of thought really began in the mid-1970s. It’s been around for a long time and gets its origins from a legal field because critical race theorists are looking at the civil rights movement, and things like anti-discrimination laws that come out of the civil rights era. Hancock is an associate professor of history and Africana studies at Gettysburg College.

of it. If you talk about critical race theory, the important part of those three words is “theory” … The basic definition that I would give is that it’s a body of thought that tries to understand the extent to which race and racism and racial ideologies have shaped the United States … And the other important word is “critical.” It uses critical thinking, so it uses rigorous analysis and evidence-based discussions to kind of assess these theories of how race has shaped the United States. SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Critical race theory is a legal framework. It’s a lens for people to be able to apply to law and see how racial injustice and how racism has been baked in many laws in the history of America. You can use this to apply to like, why was anti-Blackness in law, how was it that we went from legal enslavement to mass incarceration to redlining to the drug epidemic, and how different laws were applied to Black communities as opposed to the white communities. Whether it’s housing or education, there’s research to show that general assemblies like the one in Pennsylvania underfund districts the Blacker or browner they are. CRT is a framework that was

ROGERS SMITH: The truth is that there isn’t any real evidence that anyone in K-12 education is using any of the writings of critical race scholars directly in the curriculum. The claim by the sponsors of this bill and similar bills and other states is that nonetheless, the concepts put forth by the legal scholars who originated CRT have been picked up by elementary and secondary school educators. They claim it has entered the curriculum that way, but no one is actually teaching the main documents of CRT … I do teach courses on race and ethnicity and American constitutional politics, and I have used some readings from scholars associated with CRT as well as scholars representing very different points of view. But even I have to be careful about the readings involving too much legal terminology because I know that they’re not going to work for my undergraduates. SHARIF EL-MEKKI: When you question many [critics of CRT] about their experiences or if they’ve read their work – if they’ve read “Faces at the Bottom of the Well,” or Kimberlé Crenshaw or Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings who hails from Philadelphia – they, by and large, say no, they haven’t. They tried to attribute everything that they don’t feel comfortable talking about, mainly race, to CRT. So, when I talk about it, there are two CRTs. There’s the capital CRT, critical race theory, and lowercase CRT, culturally responsive teaching. That’s what they’ve been against from

the beginning, so this is not new. While they show that they are uncomfortable talking about race, they also are uncomfortable talking about the true history. I think teachers should be teaching about CRT where they can age appropriately. You can’t talk about the history of America without talking about race, if you’re being honest and if you’re trying to be a good educator. But what we have now are people who are legislators who don’t read, who obviously received poor schooling themselves, and who lack the understanding of history and how we have to understand it to improve things today. How does the legislation being intro-

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


duced to “ban” CRT even relate to its specific teachings? What kind of curriculum would the legislation look to ban? ROGERS SMITH: I think the law works exactly against the intentions of [its] sponsors. CRT is an understanding, first and foremost, of the American legal system, but also the broader political and social systems in the United States. It originated with legal scholars, primarily Harvard Professor Derrick Bell and Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, who argued that the American legal system and other systems in American life had historically been pervasively shaped by policies of racial discrimination, privileged whites, and dis-

El-Mekki wants teachers to do their research when it comes to critical race theory.


advantaged people of color. Consequently, they argued that in examining legal issues and policy issues. The question of whether those legal rules and policies were perpetuating past policies of racial discrimination or working to alleviate them always had to be considered, and so, they do lead to legal analyses that focus on the impacts of legal rules and public policies on the persistence of racial inequalities. SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Part of having culturally responsive teaching and CRT as a lens is to have an informed citizenry … [Legislators] are demonstrating a lack of critical thinking and a lack of understanding of historical context … For them to want teachers to be more confused shows that they are misaligned with what good pedagogy is. They should actually fund education equitably and get the hell out of the way because they don’t know what they’re talking about. What is crystal clear to me is that they have anti-anti-racism and that’s what they want to be promoted in their schools. Educators around the country are not having it. Do you think these types of curriculum bans coming from the state level are an example of government overreach? Should these issues be left to local officials? SCOTT HANCOCK: I would like to know how many of the people who are writing this legislation and proposing it have been teachers in elementary schools or middle or high schools, or have written curriculum. I want to hear from them on what’s reasonable, because I wouldn’t want to throw the doors open to the people who have a poor grasp or are misapplying it. I also wouldn’t want someone who’s going to come in and advocate for white supremacy. What I do want, for instance, [is for] high school and middle school history teachers to be able to teach students that George Washington was someone who believed in the importance of liberty and individual rights and the rule of law and was a central figure in the establishment of the country, and was also a committed slave owner as much as he might have said later in his life that slavery bothered him … I think I want teachers to talk about that equally. I don’t want them to downplay the fact that George Washing-

Smith centers his research on constitutional law, American political thought and legal theories.

ton was committed to concepts of liberty and I don’t want them to downplay the fact that he was perfectly willing to deny liberty to a whole race of people. ROGERS SMITH: We have a longstanding tradition of decentralized control of curriculum. We also have a longstanding tradition of granting teachers considerable academic freedom to use their expertise to teach in ways that do the best job of reaching and educating their students. This legislation is deeply hostile to the American traditions of local control of education and academic freedom. SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Many of the people who are promoting these bills are saying they champion local rights. But for them to be that far away from a classroom, that far away from children, that far away from curriculum and to pass laws around them is not only overreach but oppressive. Many educators have a very accurate north star and know that we have to do better, and that children have not been well educated. You have places that introduce bills where Ruby Bridges can’t be spoken about and can be taught. That makes no sense.


CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

Bargaining chips


he labor movement may not ever have a better opportunity to obtain long-sought labor law reforms than they do right now. President Joe Biden ran for office in 2020 promising not just to protect union jobs, but to be the strongest pro-union president to ever occupy the Oval Office. And now, with Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, labor leaders are hoping they can capitalize on the current political environment in Washington, D.C. At the top of their wish list is passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, also known as the PRO Act, a priority shared by Biden and members within his administration. The measure is a sweeping pro-union bill that proponents say would be the first major labor law overhaul of its kind since the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. Sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, the PRO Act would allow the National Labor Relations Board to levy financial penalties against businesses when a worker is wrongfully fired or experiences “serious economic harm.” It would also effectively neuter state rightto-work laws, which allow workers to opt out of unions and avoid paying dues while maintaining the pay and benefits associated with collective bargaining agreements. Additionally, it would require employers to finalize a union’s first collective bargaining agreement through mediation and arbitration if in dispute, while also barring businesses from requiring workers to attend so-called “captive audience” meetings, where employees are forced to attend gatherings intended to discourage unionization under threat of losing their jobs. When taken together, the legislation represents the most comprehensive set of labor law reforms in decades and would strengthen the power that unions and its members have in the workplace, labor leaders say. “It’ll be the first major piece of prounion legislation since the National Labor Relations Act passed,” said Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. “We had unions prior to the National Labor Relations Act and obviously folks were negotiating and had collective bargaining agreements – but the National Labor Relations Act really set the frame-

The PRO Act would transfer more power to labor unions and weaken ‘right-to-work’ laws, making it an iffy prospect in Congress.

work for folks to be able to do it without being beaten or killed or all the things that happened pre-National Labor Relations Act around organizing.” But a series of subsequent laws – such as the Taft-Hartley Act and Landrum-Griffin Act – undermined the original provisions of the NRLA, Bloomingdale said, and allowed states to pass right-to-work laws. These laws prohibited both companies and unions from requiring workers to be union members. Bloomingdale said the PRO Act would help rebuild the power of workers to stand up to fear and intimidation in the workplace. “The biggest reason people don’t join unions is fear, because most of them have a mortgage or rent or other expenses and they can’t afford to be fired for union activity. So, it’s hard to get people to take a stand,” Bloomingdale said. “Even though they want that dignity, they also need that paycheck. When we eliminate and make it personal to supervisors [that] when you break the law, you’re going to pay, then maybe we get some of the fear out of organizing.” Under the PRO Act, union elections would also be permitted to be held remotely or through the mail. Employers would also be barred from permanently replacing workers who participate in strikes, and workers would be allowed to participate in “secondary strikes,” which allow workers to strike in support of workers at other companies. Wendell Young IV, president of UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State, said the PRO Act would restore protections originally included in the National Labor Relations Act that have been whittled away by court rulings and other actions. “The law has been diluted and watered down through court decisions that administrative law agency decisions, and workers really, truly no longer have the rights that the law talks about,” Young said. “So, what the PRO Act will do is restore the law. It’ll hold companies and company executives responsible for wrongdoing. It’ll have meaningful penalties for those individuals, including the CEOs, and the companies.” The proposal is beloved by labor leaders, as it would afford unions greater bargaining power and more organizing flexibility, but it has also earned considerable opposition from business groups and organizations dedicated to helping workers leave unions.


By Justin Sweitzer

FTER THE HOUSE passed the bill in March, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry President Gene Barr issued a blistering statement calling the PRO Act “a radical piece of legislation that would upend decades of established labor law, significantly stacking the deck in favor of unions.” Barr said the bill “will encourage unfair lawsuits, stifle employers’ right to communicate with their workforce during union elections and force an unrealistic standard for hiring independent contractors that will also hurt freelancers and gig workers,”

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


“ What the PRO Act will do is restore the law.”


–Wendell Young IV, president of UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State

adding that the legislation would strike a devastating blow to businesses trying to regain their footing after coronavirus-induced economic shutdowns. At the heart of the opposition from business leaders is the bill’s sweeping changes to the definition of an employee, which would make many gig workers, such as those who drive for Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, eligible to unionize. The bill would subject gig workers to a three-pronged test to determine whether they’re an independent contractor or an employee – a test that labor leaders say would benefit workers who have sought – and advocated for – the

right to unionize. And opponents of the legislation argue that the bill would strip away choice from workers not interested in unionizing, such as those who pursue gig work on the side. “In reality, it would strip millions of workers from the ability to make their own decisions about union participation,” said Hunter Tower, the Pennsylvania Director of the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit public policy think tank devoted to combatting the influence of public-sector unions. Tower specifically pointed to gig workers at companies like Uber and Lyft, suggesting they could lose their independent contractor status, and the flexibility that comes with it, if the PRO Act is passed at the federal level and independent contractors are allowed to unionize. “It’s basically stunning and brazenly opposed to giving workers choices,” he said. Tower also said the PRO Act would likely benefit the Democratic Party, given that unions often align themselves with Democratic lawmakers. According to Open Secrets, public sector unions donated more than $18.7 million in 2020 to federal candidates, par\Sum et di vent ut aperati ties and outside organiaut peles aspi- zations that supported eniscime et lis Democratic causes, commolor sedi acpared to $2.1 million tocupta tatium ward Republican causes. doloritat. Sunt rem erro Nate Benefield, vice quo mincpresident and COO of the tatquia quas Commonwealth Foundaest, quo to eation, a conservative think quo derspelit voluptium tank based in Harrisburg, also expressed concerns with provisions in the PRO Act that would essentially end right-towork laws. Even though Pennsylvania is not a rightto-work state, Benefield said right-to work laws are beneficial because they provide workers with choices when it comes to unionization. “As an employee, you can join a union and choose to join a union; you can also choose not to join the union and not be forced to pay a fee,” Benefield said, adding that right-to-work laws “in many ways forces the union to be more representative” of its members. Agreeing with Tower, Benefield also suggested that the PRO Act might be more of

a tool to invigorate Democratic fundraising than a proposal with a real chance of becoming law. Benefield said the PRO Act resembles “one of those big ideas” that was designed to encourage political donations “without really having prospects of it becoming law.” Young bristled at claims that the PRO Act was a mere political stunt. “It’s nonsense,” he said. “This is about protecting workers’ rights.” Although the PRO Act advanced out of the U.S. House with a 225-206 vote in March, backers of the bill don’t have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes to move it out of the Senate and onto Biden’s desk. Bloomingdale said it’s more likely that pieces of the legislation get approved through the budget reconciliation process. “Obviously, we’re not going to break any kind of filibuster,” he said. The budget reconciliation process – a wonky, procedural tactic used to pass budget-related policies – presents certain limits to what can and can’t be included in the final package. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has said parts of the PRO Act will be included in it, but has not elaborated on what those pieces will be. Bloomingdale highlighted the penalties, as well as banning captive audiences, repealing right-to-work laws and ensuring unions get initial contracts, as some of the PRO Act’s most important features. And while Democrats have largely been the ones pushing for the advancement of the legislation at the federal level, Young stressed that some Democrats, mainly Blue Dogs, have been the ones that have impeded expansive labor law reforms in the past. “Each time when Democrats had the White House and both chambers, it’s the Blue Dog Democrats that failed the workers of this country,” Young said. “I don’t blame the Republicans. They know who butters their bread. They’re gonna do whatever those people want them to do. While the majority is very thin right now, Democrats are the majority. Democrats claim to be the party of the workers in this country and generally vote much better for them than the Republicans do. So it’s time for them to stand up and do the right thing for workers – including the Blue Dog Democrats.”


CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

How raising the minimum wage would help some, hurt others


September 2021

The pandemic renewed calls for higher pay for workers, but as lawmakers wrangle over wage increases, some businesses have taken matters into their own hands. By Harrison Cann

City & State Pennsylvania



HE CLAMORING FOR a minimum wage hike in the commonwealth seems to be falling on deaf ears for some, while it’s ringing loud for others. Industries are shifting, workers are changing fields, and businesses are scrambling to fill job openings. The minimum wage debate in Pennsylvania is nothing new, but with the pandemic evolving the economy and how people view work, it’s turning into a whole new conversation. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum, $7.25 an hour. It last increased in 2008, when it rose by 10 cents. The commonwealth is also the only state in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions to have the same minimum wage as the federal minimum. Further south, Virginia increased its to $9.50 earlier this year. Since he took office, Gov. Tom Wolf and his fellow Democrats in the state legislature have made continual pushes for a minimum wage increase. Wolf’s budget this year included a plan to increase the wage to $12 an hour, with gradual increases to put the state on the path to $15. But members of the Republican-controlled General Assembly haven’t seen eye-to-eye on the proposals, and not unlike other issues in Harrisburg, they have failed to reach an agreement. “Increasing the minimum wage puts more money into the pockets of workers, which gives local businesses more customers,” Wolf said during a press confer-

CityAndStatePA .com

ence earlier this summer. “Boosting wages helps businesses attract and keep good employees. Raising the minimum wage allows Pennsylvanians to work their way out of poverty, saves tax dollars, and helps local communities – especially rural communities.” While various Democratic proposals didn’t get serious attention from the other side, Republicans did introduce their own minimum wage increase. State Sens. Dan Laughlin and Patrick Browne proposed a more “reasonable” change in Senate Bill 672, which would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour and permanently index it to inflation. “[The bill] is a pretty straightforward, simple solution to an issue we have in Pennsylvania,” Laughlin told City & State. “I’m not happy that we continue to be painted as one of the remaining states with the lowest minimum wage.” He said the $10 an hour proposal is more “realistic” because he doesn’t see an appetite for an increase to $12 an hour. “I think [tying it to inflation] is more of a long-term solution for the folks at the minimum wage status in Pennsylvania,” Laughlin added. “It will continue to be adjusted upward and in a more business-friendly fashion than these big jumps every 10 to 12 years.” Amid the debate over the dollar amount, some argue Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage puts it at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting workers, but makes it more appealing for businesses. “The fact that we have lower wages just shows that there is no connection between wage rates and top businesses,” Michael Rashid, commerce director for the City of Philadelphia, told City & State. “If it were good for businesses to have lower wages, you would have a lot of people coming from Maryland, Delaware and other states to Pennsylvania to pay lower wages, but we have not seen that.” Debates over the minimum wage come with calls from either side arguing that the status quo hurts workers and that wage increases would hurt businesses. But before any potential impacts can be considered, one has to understand who is making the bare minimum in the commonwealth and who would be affected. According to an Independent Fiscal Office report, more than 1 million Pennsylvanians would benefit from a $12 minimum wage, and about 1.8 million would benefit from a $15 minimum wage. Those benefiting the most are in industries such as food service, retail, and educational services. But due to economic factors like automation, shifts in consumer spending and remote work, those numbers are projected to decline by nearly 20% in the coming years.

September 2021

Tipped staff are often paid below the federal minimum.


ATA FROM THE Pennsylvania Department of Labor states that the commonwealth has a higher percentage of workers at or below the federal minimum wage, coming in at 2.5% compared to the 1.5% national average. More than half of earners at or below minimum wage have a high school diploma or none at all, and about 70% are between the ages of 16 and 24. People of color make up about 30% of minimum wage workers in the state, and women making that rate outweigh men by more than three to one. Many supporters of the Fight for $15 national minimum wage advocacy movement stress that the number of women of color affected by an increase cannot be ignored. The frontline workers who were regarded as heroes during the pandemic, many of whom lost their jobs during government shutdowns, are in industries like home health care, child care, hospitality and the like. They’re fighting – not only higher pay – but also for better protections and benefits during this more challenging time. “People who were most hurt [by the pandemic] were those in the hospitality industry, and in Philadelphia, people who work in the hospitality industry are overwhelmingly Black and brown women,” Rashid said. “We have started to get those people back to work, but we have a long way to go with the hospitality industry and even the health care industry. Increasing those

“A lot of people are rethinking what they want to do, so it’s up to businesses to make it a better industry to work in.” –Jon Myerow, owner of Tria and Bar Poulet in Philadelphia

wages would absolutely help, and companies are starting to do just that. They’re realizing they have to do it.” Of all the metropolitan areas in the nation, Philadelphia has one of the lowest minimum wages. And with the cost of living and goods increasing, the minimum wage leaves workers with less and less buying power over time. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guidelines state that a person should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing. For a low-wage worker in Philadelphia, that would mean only $400 a month for housing. Coming out of the pandemic, workers are beginning to speak up, and for the most part, businesses are listening. Many businesses have taken matters into their own hands to raise wages and offer better ben-



September 2021

efits for employees. Part may be in the response to the calls for fairer treatment, but a lot can also be attributed to the increased demand to fill job openings. Jon Myerow, owner of Tria and Bar Poulet in Philadelphia, said he came up with a plan last year to offer a $15 an hour minimum wage, eliminate slower shifts and implement a service charge in an effort to increase the pay for his employees. “It’s all supply and demand,” Myerow told City & State. “So many people have left this industry, and probably for good. A lot of people are rethinking what they want to do, so it’s up to businesses to make it a better industry to work in.” The argument over whether the openings are due to a worker shortage or a wage shortage is more complicated than it seems. Myerow said that while his changes have helped him retain and recruit more staff, he’s still con-

City & State Pennsylvania

sistently short a few workers. Critics of increasing the minimum wage claim that workers aren’t jumping to fill open positions because they’re satisfied with collecting unemployment benefits. Proponents say that workers choosing unemployment benefits over low wages isn’t a knock on those out of work, but on businesses seeking employees. “That’s not good for our economy, and that’s not good for our society for it to be more advantageous to stay home than to be employed. It’s a challenge, but it’s just not good public policy,” Rashid said. Someone making $7.25 an hour would earn $290 in a 40-hour work week. Eligible claimants have been able to get $300 a week, in addition to state unemployment compensation, during the federal pandemic unemployment period slated to end in September. “You have employers who say, ‘We can’t find workers to come back to work because they’re making more on unemployment than we’re willing to pay’ … The workers are there. You’re just not paying enough to attract them to come work for you,” said Thomas Oppel, executive vice president of the Washington, D.Cbased American Sustainable Business Council. The American Sustainable Business Council, or ASBC, is an organization representing more than 250,000 businesses advocating for sustainable and equitable business policies. Oppel said that while traditional business organizations weigh the costs between higher wages and lost jobs, or the economy and the environment, ASBC believes those are false choices. “Over the last 15 years, wage growth for CEOs … has risen dramatically, but wages at the lower end of the economic ladder have been stagnant, or when compared with inflation, have decreased. That’s simply not fair, but it’s also not good for the economy because it denies people the opportunity to be both more productive, as well as to increase their consumption,” Oppel told City & State. Myerow said that with many businesses struggling coming out of the pandemic, it could be an inflection point for the service industry. “It’s going to be a very Darwinian moment. You either have the ability and resources to compete for staff and for


guests, or you don’t. A pretty tough industry to begin with just got that much more difficult,” he said. Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry agrees that this could be a turning point for the hospitality industry, but that “punitive blanket mandates” would risk jobs, especially for the low-income earners people are advocating for. “While some workers would certainly benefit from increasing the minimum wage, others would be negatively impacted, many of whom may be from the very low-income families we want to help,” Barr told City & State. “The current proposal on the table in Harrisburg would be especially damaging for the restaurant industry, which employs over half of the minimum wage earners in Pennsylvania. Restaurants that have survived the pandemic so far may be barely hanging on following the state’s business shutdown orders and capacity restrictions.” That’s why raising the minimum wage is proving to be more difficult for small businesses and mom-and-pop shops that often rely on high school students and other lowwage workers for staff. Barr said the state should consider other policies, such as improved job training programs and tax credits to better support low-wage earners instead of mandating wage increases. On the other hand, Oppel said increased wages can save the state money in the long term. He argued that with more disposable income, businesses get more returns from increased consumer spending and fewer people need to rely on state programs for assistance. “You’re going to put more money into people’s pockets, which means they’re going to be able to save more and spend more,” he said. “By making them more productive and increasing their wages, you remove the number of people who have to rely on those support programs.” In an effort to appease everybody, Laughlin said his more moderate approach takes into account feedback from small businesses within his district. Although most small businesses are already paying at least $10 an hour, he’s considering including in his bill a 90-day training wage, which would be lower than the minimum wage, to help businesses transition while onboarding new employees. Laughlin said most Republicans recognize that costs have increased “substantially,” for many families, particularly over the last year. His proposal, SB 672, is gaining traction in the Capitol. “Frankly, I think now’s the time,” he said. “I’ve already started talking to people behind the scenes … building support, and I think we’re getting pretty close.”

20 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

The thinning of

Departments across the state are facing staffing shortages.

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


f the ranks Police departments across the state are struggling to recruit new officers, retain the staff they have and engage minorities in the wake of a tumultuous year.



HE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE welcomed 91 new cadets into their ranks last month, but one major question still looms large over the force: How can the police recruit more minorities? Diversity has been an ongoing issue for the state police, as well as local police departments across the state. While officials say they’re working to improve outreach and target recruiting toward communities of color, there are few results to show for it. And since the murder of George Floyd more than a year ago, public distrust and anti-police rhetoric haven’t made it any easier. “We want to show people that we’re human too, and we want to help protect,” said Lt. Richard Nesbitt, who leads recruitment services for the Pennsylvania State Police. “Our job is all about engendering public trust … We


By Harrison Cann

22 CityAndStatePA .com

[must] go and make ourselves known in those areas through job fairs, through public contacts, and through state senators. And that’s the only way that we can show people and tell people that we want you.” Prior to the newest class, the state police force was nearly 93% white and nearly 87% male, according to agency statistics. Of the 91 cadets that graduated from the State Police Academy in early August, 75 of them are white men. The class, as a whole, included four Black cadets, four Hispanic cadets and just eight women. Although it’s more proportional to the state population, the Philadelphia Police Department is no exception to the lack of diversity either. The city’s force is about 57% white, 31% Black, 10% Latino and 2% Asian. Those numbers are still far from being representative of the community that’s more than half non-white. According to the newest U.S. Census data released in August, Pennsylvania’s population is becoming more diverse. Whites made up about 73% of the commonwealth’s population in 2020, which is down 6% in the last decade. During that same time span, the state’s Black population remained nearly stable and the Hispanic population grew by nearly 46%. “The image of policing in America has changed in recent years,” state Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, told City & State. “The public criticism has definitely increased, but I would say that where we are today is a result of past practices – not investing in our police department in the right way, not investing in the diversity of those departments, not investing in the communities in which they serve, and not engaging in more community policing has created an atmosphere in which there is a lot of tension between communities and police departments.” Nesbitt said that the Pennsylvania State Police has a “very positive benefits package as well as 180 different things that you can do.” Their recruiting efforts stress those messages in neighboring states, colleges and universities and job fairs. He touts their starting salary of nearly $65,000 as another selling point. Nesbitt added that as they look to attract more diverse recruits, efforts will include targeted billboards and social media campaigns, as well as visits to historically Black universities and colleges with higher

women and minority populations. “We want you to come on this job and help make a difference, because this is still a noble profession,” Nesbitt, who is Black, told City & State. “And if you want to change something, you need to change it from the inside … because if there’s no one like you sitting at the table, there’s not going to be any change. So, the only way for change to come is for those people in the underserved communities to actually join.”


HE STATE POLICE will soon be introducing new initiatives to improve its community engagement and better connect with teenagers and young adults. Next year, the Explorers program will expose high school students and college freshmen to what it’s like to join the force. Nesbitt said applicants can face a number of barriers in the process. The State Police Academy requires cadets go through a 27-week training program in Hershey, which can be an obstacle for those who need to stay close to home. The seven-step process, Nesbitt said, includes a written and oral test, polygraph and background check, medical and psychological exams, and a physical readiness test. He added that the initial written and oral test is now available at 65 locations throughout the state, so interested applicants in every part of the commonwealth should have access. The agency is also offering swimming lessons, as being able to swim is part of the academy’s requirements. The current testing cycle opened Aug. 1 and is set to close in February.

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


Bullock said that while recruitment strategies can help with attracting more applicants, the culture in law enforcement has to be more accommodating, as well. “I believe that they have made some strides with recruitment. But what happens after recruitment, when we talk about training, police culture and welcoming folks into law enforcement, I think that’s where we failed,” she said. That comes with not only coaching cadets through training, but having mentors in place that can relate to and support them. Bullock said the police need to be stra-

tegic about promoting “police officers of color and women so that [cadets] can see a path for making policing their profession.” According to agency statistics, of the more than 1,100 officers who’ve reached the rank of major, captain, lieutenant, sergeant or corporal, about 94% are white. Improving engagement with members of the public is one thing, but that’s just the first step. Nesbitt said recruitment goes beyond the individual, and must include the family and surrounding community. “When you recruit somebody, you don’t just recruit them, you have to recruit the whole family,” he said. “And once you re-

cruit the whole family, you recruit the whole community because the community needs to buy in.” He added that another barrier, a tattoo policy, has been adjusted to be more inclusive. In the past, applicants weren’t allowed to have tattoos. Now, tattoos are allowed as long as they’re not offensive and aren’t on the person’s face or hands. Nesbitt said he doesn’t want to preclude anybody from the force, but above all else, “character is what counts.” Kenneth Hutson, president of the Pennsylvania state chapter of the NAACP, agrees, saying that diversity cannot “just be a catchphrase.” He emphasized that recruitment has to be strategic and relationships must be formed with community leaders, adding that the state NAACP is working “very aggressively” to build a partnership with the state police. Hutson also commended Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration for developing a police oversight database, which requires local departments to review officers’ disciplinary actions, performance evaluations and attendance records as part of a background check. “We cannot allow those bad apples to go into another barrel, if you will, and poison the [next] police department,” he said. “We have some great state policemen, but the reality of it is that there has to be a vehicle in place to ensure and assure that this does not happen.” Most agree the oversight database is a step in the right direction, but police still have a long way to go when it comes to gaining public trust, particularly in communities of color. “You need to have a relationship with the people that you’re serving before something bad happens,” Nesbitt said. “They need to know who you are, so that when something happens you tell them what’s going on. You can be transparent with them, and they will give you the benefit of the doubt.” With more tenured police officers retiring and a public seemingly less interested in law enforcement, recruitment will continue to be a challenge for police departments across the state. But police are hopeful that promises of more transparency and community engagement will begin to mend a bruised relationship and bring on more recruits.


Donna Bullock said she wants to see police departments promote women and officers of color so that new cadets are encouraged to see policing as a meaningful profession.

24 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

The controversialco comeback


Barletta served as mayor of Hazleton from 2000 to 2010.

N 2020, AFTER roughly two years out of the spotlight, Lou Barletta began to ponder what his political future might look like. Barletta, a Republican, had lost a race for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s seat just two years prior, falling to the Democrat by a 13-point margin. He had already spent four terms in Congress, where he tired of the constant gridlock and political dynamics of Washington, D.C. So, rather than run for Senate a second time, Barletta set his sights on Harrisburg instead, believing his experience as a mayor, congressman and small business owner would translate well to the governor’s office and help him lift the state out of the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. And so began Barletta’s political comeback. Last year, watching from the sidelines, Barletta expressed frustration over how Gov. Tom Wolf handled the pandemic. As a former small business owner, he felt that Wolf’s business closures

were made in a subjective, half-baked manner. Broad school shutdowns, Barletta said, were going to have a long-term impact on students who missed out on in-person learning. He also ripped into the Wolf administration’s decision to allow nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients discharged from the hospital, saying in his campaign announcement that Wolf has “blood on his hands.” Seeing an economy in free fall, a mismanaged public health crisis and a wide-open gubernatorial race in 2022, Barletta saw his opening. “That’s when I decided I couldn’t sit back and do nothing,” he told City & State. Barletta pointed to his name recognition and his ability to win over voters from across the political spectrum as two major advantages he holds in the GOP primary race for governor. He added that his experience as a small business owner and mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania make him well-suited for a statewide executive role. “I felt at that time that I was probably the best person … in the position to be able to run and win,” he said. “Since I ran statewide

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


ontroversial comeback kid Lou Barletta says he’d welcome Donald Trump’s endorsement as he pursues the Republican nomination for governor. But does he need it to win?


By Justin Sweitzer in 2018, my statewide name ID is very, very high. You can’t win Pennsylvania if you can’t get Democrats to vote for you – I’ve had a history of doing that.” Barletta’s history as both a mayor and member of Congress is well documented. First elected mayor of Hazleton in 1999, Barletta pulled in votes from Republicans and Democrats throughout his 10 years in office, and found victory despite a Democratic voter registration edge in the city. But while his bids for local office received support from both sides of the aisle, his tenure as mayor also earned him national attention for a controversial anti-immigration ordinance that was later mimicked across the nation. The ordinance, which was met with legal challenges from undocumented immigrants and the American Civil Liberties Union, aimed to suspend the licenses of businesses and landlords that knowingly hired or housed undocumented people. The local law, which would also have levied financial penalties against landlords that rented to undocumented immigrants, was

met with staunch opposition from immigration advocates and civil rights groups, and was later found unconstitutional. Barletta also supported efforts to make English the official language of Hazleton, which also attracted scorn from opponents. Plaintiffs argued in a lawsuit that the ordinance would “infringe the Constitutional rights of all Hazletonians who look or sound like ‘foreigners,’ not just those who are here in the United States ‘illegally.’” They added that “anyone who looks or sounds ‘foreign’ – regardless of their actual immigration status – will not be able to participate meaningfully in life in Hazleton, returning to the days when discriminatory laws forbade certain classes of people from owning land, running businesses or living in certain places.” Barletta, however, still defends the ordinance – dubbed the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” – saying he was left without any other options to address illegal immigration and related crimes after state and federal officials failed to help him. “I was just trying to protect the people of Hazleton,” he said,

26 CityAndStatePA .com

The former congressman has also convened an “Election Integrity Advisory Board” that’s tasked with helping him develop a “common sense solution to repeal Act 77” – the bipartisan law approved in 2019 by state lawmakers that paved the way for no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania. And in contrast to audit proposals that have been hatched by some state lawmakers, Barletta supports a 67-county audit of the state’s 2020 election results, echoing requests from Trump, the former president who has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that there was widespread voter fraud in last year’s election. “I think if there is an audit, it should be all counties,” Barletta said, adding that counties should not have to bear the cost of new voting machines if an audit is conducted. Barletta has also expressed a desire to expand school choice programs, tighten abortion restrictions and continue to combat illegal immigration – the issue that thrust Barletta into the political mainstream in the 2000s. Supporters say Barletta would bring a reliable conservative voice to Harrisburg, while understanding the everyday experiences that small businesses and their workers face. Jeff Haste, a former state representative and Dauphin County commissioner, is one of a number of local officials who have endorsed Barletta’s run for governor. “I can say without hesitation that Lou Barletta will be a strong conservative voice for Pennsylvania,” Haste said in a statement, adding that Barletta “genuinely cares about making a difference in people’s lives.” The current mayor of Hazleton, Jeff Cusat, has also endorsed Barletta. Cusat said his family grew up next to Barletta’s and that he’s always been impressed with Barletta’s commitment to causes that are important to him. “If he finds something that is important to the community, he goes – I hate to say 100 miles an hour towards it – but he is dedicated to finishing it.” Cusat, who said he makes few political endorsements, said he admires the effort that Barletta put into his own business prior to his political career. “I always have a lot of respect for anybody that comes from a successful family business,” he said. “When you have your own business like that, you put everything you have into it. If you can make that succeed, I really feel that’s a very strong quality to have.” Cusat said he believes Barletta’s business acumen will translate into an understand-

“For many years, people considered the Republican Party the party of big business, and I believe Donald Trump changed that.” –Lou Barletta

ing of the experiences small businesses face at the state level. But while Barletta supporters tout the former mayor and congressman’s resume as reasoning for their support, others say Barletta’s background reveals plenty of red flags about how he would govern. “He first came on the map by becoming a darling of the far right with his inflammatory rhetoric around things like immigration,” said Brendan Welch, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, adding that Barletta’s record in Congress should worry voters. “He voted to repeal affordable health care for millions of Pennsylvanians, including protections for people with


adding that he “never wavered” in his attempt to do what he thought was right for his city, even if it prompted pushback, lawsuits and threats. After a decade in Hazleton, Barletta successfully defeated U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 26-year Democratic incumbent. While in Congress, Barletta established himself as a reliable Republican vote, supporting proposals to crack down on sanctuary cities, restrict abortions and repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act. After four terms in Congress, Barletta ran for Senate at the urging of then-President Donald Trump. He came up short in that election, which put an end to his time in Washington. But Barletta wasn’t too broken up about the loss. “I wasn’t really happy in Washington,” Barletta said, adding that as a former mayor and business owner, he was able to make executive decisions in those roles, but had a much more difficult time getting things done as a member of Congress. To make matters worse, in the midst of his Senate campaign, Barletta lost his brother and received the devastating news that his grandson had cancer. “I was just glad that campaign was over,” he said. After two years to regroup and spend some long-sought time with his grandchildren, Barletta reentered public life this year, officially announcing his candidacy for governor in May. And if he’s fortunate enough to succeed Wolf, there’s no shortage of priorities he wants to address. Barletta listed the state’s economy – battered by the COVID-19 pandemic – as his chief concern. As the state continues to try and rebound from the impacts of pandemic mitigation measures, he stressed a need to make Pennsylvania more business-friendly by improving its tax climate, relaxing regulations and streamlining permitting processes. Barletta said state officials also need to take advantage of the state’s natural resources and create jobs around the development of natural gas and rare earth elements. If Pennsylvania fails to improve on its business climate, an exodus of working-age residents will only get worse, Barletta said. “When businesses leave Pennsylvania, what leaves with those businesses are our children and our grandchildren, and so I think that’s going to be a big priority,” he said. Barletta also said that the state’s election laws are in need of a rewrite. He said he would support strengthened voter ID requirements, as well as legislation that outlines a process to verify ballot signatures.

September 2021

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


Lou Barletta poses for photos with supporters and members of his family.

pre-existing conditions. He has been a stringent opponent of women’s access to health care and reproductive rights and access to abortion – very anti-choice record.” J.J. Abbott, a former aide to Wolf who is currently the executive director of Commonwealth Communications, said conservative candidates like Barletta would likely rubber-stamp conservative policies that Wolf has fended off during his two terms in office. “I think you would see all of these things that Tom Wolf has stopped with his veto pen,” Abbott said, pointing to abortion bans and a rollback of voting reform laws. “All of these things that Tom Wolf has served as the backstop against, you’re going to see every single one of those things be pursued aggressively and likely to become law,” Abbott said of a potential Barletta administration. Barletta is likely to face off against candidates both more conservative and more moderate than himself in the GOP primary. Republican strategist Charlie Gerow, Pittsburgh attorney Jason Richey, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale and others have already declared their candidacies, while multiple state senators, in-

cluding Doug Mastriano, Scott Martin and Dan Laughlin, as well as former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, have all indicated an interest in running. It’s unclear what ideological direction the GOP primary will take. Abbott said that at the local level, there appears to be an appetite for Trump-aligned candidates espousing more consiervative views. “I think there’s definitely some anecdotal evidence that Trump is the center of the Republican Party electorate,” he said, adding that, “It certainly seems like, at least in Pennsylvania, we’re seeing candidates in these municipal primaries that are much more right-wing and extreme than in the past.” Barletta, who said he would welcome Trump’s endorsement, had a different view of Trump’s influence on the Republican

Party. “The Republican Party, I think, has changed to be the party of the working man and woman,” he said. “For many years, people considered the Republican Party the party of big business, and I believe Donald Trump changed that.” But while Barletta has no plans to turn away potential support from Trump, he underscored that his campaign is focused on bringing together Pennsylvanians from all political stripes to put Pennsylvania on the path to prosperity – and that he has the resume to prove it. “There’s nothing wrong with any of the other GOP candidates, they’re all good people,” Barletta said. “But you’re hiring a CEO. You’re hiring somebody to govern, and I believe I’m the most qualified person to govern Pennsylvania, based on my experience and my history and my record.”


Building on a legacy 130 years strong, GBCA members have paved the way for building excellence. Now, we’re setting the bar for the new standard in construction with a relentless focus on the value of diversity in our member companies.








Go to to learn more

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania



The leaders building up a stronger middle class in the Keystone State.


UCH LIKE PENNSYLVANIA was the birthplace of America, it was also home to one of the very first chapters in the American labor movement’s history. In the late 1700s, shoemakers in Philadelphia formed a “Society of Journeymen Cordwainers” – one of the first examples of sustained trade union organizing in the nation. The shoemakers advocated for increased wages, but were dealt a devastating blow when the Philadelphia Mayor’s Court charged eight of them with a conspiracy to raise their wages. While the cordwainers weren’t nearly as successful as they had hoped to

be, the influence they had on the labor movement was significant nonetheless. Hundreds of years later, Pennsylvania unions play a key role in standing up for the interests of their workers, and hold immense power in the state’s political landscape. City & State’s Pennsylvania Labor Power 100 recognizes labor leaders and workers advocates at the forefront of today’s organized labor movement. From efforts to increase pay and benefits for unionized workers to expanding workplace protections for public sector employees, the 2021 Labor Power 100 is a who’s who of leading figures in Pennsylvania labor.

30 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

1 RICHARD BLOOMINGDALE PRESIDENT Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Richard Bloomingdale was unanimously elected as the Pennsylvania AFLCIO’s president at the 39th Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in 2010 and has led the Keystone State’s chapter of the AFL-CIO ever since. Bloomingdale represents more than 900,000 members as head of the state AFL-CIO and plays an active role in advocating for their interests at the state level. Bloomingdale and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO have been strong advocates for enhanced protections for workers, both before

and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bloomingdale has called for OSHA protections to be expanded for public sector workers, as well as the creation of a “Workers Bill of Rights” to enhance collective bargaining powers and promote safe workplaces. The state AFL-CIO is a major political donor to candidates running for office at the state level, having contributed to campaigns on both sides of the aisle over the years. Bloomingdale was tapped by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2019 to serve on the governor’s Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, which later unveiled recommendations on how government officials and private sector leaders can break down barriers to gainful employment. Bloomingdale has deep roots in the labor movement, spending 16 years as secretary-treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO before

Askey has been vocal about in-person learning – and mask-wearing – in schools.

being elected president. He began his career at AFSCME, working as a project staff representative and state political/legislative director.

2 RICH ASKEY PRESIDENT Pennsylvania State Education Association Since 2018, Rich Askey has led the Pennsylvania State Education Association, representing an educationoriented union made up of more than 178,000 members, including teachers, bus

drivers, school nurses and cafeteria workers. As president of the PSEA, Askey is one of the state’s loudest voices on behalf of educators and public schools. The union has been closely allied with Gov. Tom Wolf throughout his two terms in office, largely due to his support for boosting state spending on public education. The PSEA spent more than $1 million in support of Wolf in 2018 when he ran for re-election. Askey and his members have rallied against an expansion of school choice policies that could divert funds away from public schools and have highlighted the need for policymakers to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers. Askey is himself a member of the PSEA and has taught music in the Harrisburg School District for more than three decades. Prior to becoming president, Askey served as PSEA’s vice president, treasurer and was a member of the union’s board of directors. His experience isn’t limited to just PSEA; Askey served on the National Education Association’s board of directors for five years and is also a member of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, which advises the governor and those within his administration on policies, programs and legislation that would impact LGBTQ communities.

3 J. DAVID HENDERSON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AFSCME Council 13 It’s hard to understate the influence that David Henderson and AFSCME Council 13 have on the Pennsylvania political arena. With more than 65,000 members, Council 13 is one of the largest public sector unions in Pennsylvania and


Rick Bloomingdale has served the Pennsylvania AFLCIO since 2010.

(717) 703-5891 | September 2021

Kevin Kerr

Senior Principal (215) 665-2065 | jhil

Principal (412) 620-6496 |

David Bonsick

Brianna Westbrooks

Principal (717) 773-4214 |

Policy Advisor (215) 665-4757 |


UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State

Wendell Young IV’s father served as president of UFCW Local 1776 for more than 40 years, a position that his son would ultimately assume in 2005. Now, as president of UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State, Wendell Young IV leads a union comprised of more than 35,000 workers in supermarkets, food processing, gaming, manufacturing, medical cannabis and state liquor


Wendell Young IV says it’s time for employers to mandate COVID vaccinations and negotiate with unions how to do it.

stores. Young is a leading defender of the state-run liquor store system, often leading efforts to oppose moves to privatize it in an effort to protect the jobs and benefits of employees at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. Young’s UFCW local has also expanded its work into the medical marijuana space, and his union now represents workers throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Ohio, following a merger in 2018 with UFCW Local 23. The union became one of the most active voices in support of frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with so many food and commercial workers designated as “lifesustaining” workers. Young has underscored the need for hazard pay during periods of significant virus spread and pressured the state to expand vaccine access for frontline workers. He is vice president of UFCW International and serves as president and chair of the board of directors for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies: New York, Washington, D.C., Il inois, Pennsylvania, Virginia


© 2021 Cozen O’Connor

City & State Pennsylvania

Joseph Hil

has the receipts to prove it. From 2019 to 2020, Council 13 spent more than $1.6 million on political expenditures – a figure that demonstrates the political weight of the union. AFSCME Council 13 has advocated for expanded OSHA protections to include public sector workers and has been a vocal opponent of a state plan to consolidate state-owned universities, which they say will result in job cuts. Henderson, who assumed responsibility at Council 13 earlier this year, is a 41-year AFSCME member whose family also has a long history with the organization. Henderson currently is an international vice president for AFSCME and most recently served as director of AFSCME District Council 85, a position he held since 2009. Henderson has also co-chaired the Resolutions Committee at Council 13, as well as the council’s Elections Committee, Sergeant of Arms Committee and began serving on the Elections Committee for AFSCME’s International Convention earlier this year. He first joined AFSCME in 1979 and worked as a corrections officer with incarcerated individuals with mental disabilities.


(717) 773-4213 |


Cincinnati. He also served six terms as president of a large local in United Steelworkers’ former District 19, serving on various committees. McAuliffe joined United Steelworkers International Staff in 1997 as a technician, and later helped develop the union’s organizing plans for members in rightto-work states. McAuliffe was elected District 10 director in 2013, which represents the state of Pennsylvania, and prior to that, served as the Rapid Response coordinator for District 10. In 2020, McAuliffe was named “Labor Leader of the Year” in the March of Dimes Transportation, Building and Construction Awards. He’s been a staunch supporter of state legislation offering to provide emergency sick leave to Pennsylvania workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. McAuliffie is a member of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the governor’s group of private sector policy advisors on workforce-related issues. A veteran, McAuliffe was honorably discharged from the Navy and served three tours of duty overseas. |


United Steelworkers International

Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe is a veteran union activist who has been ingrained in the labor movement since getting involved with his local union upon joining National Material Corp. in 1978. He was quickly elected vice president, and later, president of the union. He spent six years as an associate instructor at the Center for Worker Health and Safety Education in

32 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

SEIU, makes him one of the most accomplished labor leaders in the state, not to mention the nation.

nursing home workers this summer, which was called off before ever occurring after workers reached preliminary agreements with their employers. Still, the planned nursing home strikes demonstrated the power of both SEIU Healthcare PA and its members as they leveraged their collective strength. Yarnell has made higher wages, union protections, LGBTQ equality and racial justice key tenets of his tenure as president, and has advocated for such policies at the state level. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on long-term care facilities, Yarnell has placed a particular emphasis on wages at nursing homes, as well as the conditions that employees face amid staffing shortages and outdated state regulations.







6 NEAL BISNO INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT SEIU Neal Bisno is a major player at SEIU, currently serving as the union’s international executive vice president, where he oversees the organization and political and member engagement efforts for a labor union made up of more than 2 million

members. In this role, Bisno helps develop large organizing campaigns and build the union’s national political strength. Most recently, Bisno led SEIU’s efforts to mobilize members and engage voters to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin for President Joe Biden. Bisno’s Pennsylvania roots are strong, as he currently resides in Pittsburgh and previously was president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, where he represented more than 45,000 workers, spearheaded organizing campaigns among health care workers and helped advocate for higher wages and staffing protections. Bisno also was a key force in advancing Pennsylvania’s 2008 law banning forced overtime for nurses and other health care workers. He also pushed for an expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania and was on Gov. Tom Wolf’s transition committee in 2014. Bisno has been involved with the labor movement since 1989; his familiarity with workers and their needs, coupled with his extensive experience with

Since 1995, Bisno has quadrupled the size of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania When elected president of SEIU Health Pennsylvania in 2016, Matthew Yarnell became the youngest leader of a major union in Pennsylvania and the highest-ranking LGBTQ labor leader in the state. He leads a union made up of nearly 45,000 health care workers, including staff at hospitals, nursing homes, state facilities and other locations. Prior to becoming president, he was SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s executive vice president for long-term care. Yarnell began his career as a nursing home aide and joined SEIU Healthcare PA as an organizer in 2001. He then worked his way up to roles including vice president and executive vice president. As the union’s leader, Yarnell was instrumental in organizing a one-day strike involving roughly 1,500

Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters As the executive secretarytreasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, William Sproule oversees more than 41,000 members across seven states and Washington, D.C. Sproule was formerly president and regional manager of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, before it was dissolved and merged with the Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters in 2018. He then was appointed as assistant executive secretarytreasurer for the newly formed council, which was later renamed the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. He was named executive


Matthew Yarnell is President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

IBEW Local Union 98 is proud to support

Pennsylvania’s Labor Leaders

34 CityAndStatePA .com

secretary-treasurer in April 2019, and now oversees the development of the council’s policies and procedures, as well as everyday operations of the council’s local unions. He has a hand in developing collective bargaining agreements and increasing job opportunities for union membership. Sproule also serves on multiple authorities and boards in New Jersey and is a trustee for the Philadelphia & Vicinity Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund, as well as the Philadelphia and Vicinity Funds. He began his career as an apprentice carpenter in what was formerly Atlantic City Local 623, and had a hand in building many casinobased projects in Atlantic City, including Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and the Taj Mahal. The EAS Regional Council of Carpenters represents carpenters, both commercial and residential, as well as a number of other trades, and has fought for union jobs while working to stop efforts to pass right-to-work laws in member states such as West Virginia and Delaware.

9 ARTHUR STEINBERG PRESIDENT American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania Arthur Steinberg was first elected president of AFT Pennsylvania in 2019, and again in 2021, and

September 2021

Ryan Boyer went to Jesuit School before graduating from West Chester University and becoming a laborer.

represents more than 36,000 members across 61 locals in Pennsylvania. Steinberg is also treasurer of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the chief trustee of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health & Welfare Fund. He joined PFT as a staff representative in 1983, and later became a coordinator for the PFT Health and Welfare Fund. Steinberg is an educator himself, beginning his career as a special education teacher at Philadelphia’s Edison High School. He also attended Philadelphia public schools. Since being elected president, Steinberg has advocated at the state level for the cleanup and rehabilitation of toxic school buildings, a rewrite of the state’s charter school laws and safe reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFT has supported increased funding for public schools, along with many other educational advocacy groups, and the union has also thrown its political weight behind

candidates running for state and federal office, including a large number of Democrats in the 2020 general election. AFT Pennsylvania has released a series of principles on racial justice designed to guide members and educators on how to recognize and address factors that lead to racial and social inequality. An affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, the union is made up of faculty and staff at public, private and charter schools at all levels of education.


household. Years later, Boyer has ingrained himself into the labor movement, representing more than 5,000 members as business manager of the Laborers’ District Council of Philadelphia & Vicinity, where he helps workers secure projects and advocates for the hiring of union workers. The district council represents workers throughout four locals in the Philadelphia region. Boyer also serves as president of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, where he works closely with labor leaders John Dougherty and Patrick Eiding. He’s even been discussed as a potential successor to “Johnny Doc,” who currently serves as the trades council’s business manager. Boyer is president of the LiUNA African American Caucus, where he works to promote justice, jobs and equality both within and beyond the labor movement. He also served on the Delaware River Port Authority as its chairman, a position he left in early 2021. Boyer also holds some significant clout in Philadelphia politics, with potential mayoral candidates already clamoring for his support. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently described Boyer as “the most powerful person in Philly you haven’t heard of,” due to his steady, upward rise in the Philadelphia labor movement, as well as his relationship with current Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. It’s likely that Boyer’s influence will continue to sway elections in the coming years.




Laborers’ District Council of Philadelphia & Vicinity

Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters

Ryan N. Boyer comes from deep labor roots, having grown up in a union

There are few names as recognizable in the labor movement as the Teamsters,




The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is part of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and is made up of over 41,000 highly skilled men and women living and working in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more at William C. Sproule, Executive Secretary- Treasurer


Leading the Industry, Building the Region!

631 Iron City Drive | Pittsburgh, PA 15205 Tel: 412.922.3912 | Fax: 412.922.3729

36 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021


Esteban Vera Jr. is the first Latino to lead a major trade union in Philadelphia.


                    ­ 

     ­  €              ‚ƒ  

       Œ„Ž      ­   ‘    …’€ ’€ “   

” Œ„Ž   

 ESTEBAN VERA, JR.    „  …        ƒ†‡   ­       ˆ            ‰ ­ Š‹  


 DAVID FILLMAN   ‘    ŽŒ€’„€Š




’  ‹ ‚—­ ’     ˜Š‹  †Š  ­        ‘     ™  …  ­’ 

          •  Œ

’ ‹   

—  



      ’­’  ™ 




   

€   

 … ‘ ­            

– “…­‘”  ­       ‘    ’­… –  ­ ­  Ž ­—  … Œ •†ƒ 


       Œ   € 


’  ‡  ‚ƒ ‹Œ   ˆ   ­    •  ­ Œ   


š   ˆ   ‰       š—     ‹   

 ‹  ­    ›   ˆ    


­   ‹  ­         ­  

   ˆŽŒ€’„ ‚ 


  ­             ‰   




Congratulations to Gary Masino for being selected for the PA Labor Power 100!

CONGRATULATIONS H. PATRICK CLANCY Philadelphia Works is proud to honor its President and CEO for his passion, commitment, and leadership to the residents and businesses of the Greater Philadelphia Region. Welcome to the PA Labor Power 100!

38 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021


oversees 80,000 members in the U.S. and Canada in industries ranging from textile and apparel manufacturing to hospitality and retail.



EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Pennsylvania State Education Association

18 GABE MORGAN VICE PRESIDENT AND PENNSYLVANIA/DELAWARE STATE DIRECTOR SEIU 32BJ Gabe Morgan is well involved in SEIU’s in Pennsylvania. Not only is he vice president for SEIU 32BJ, but he also serves as the local’s state director for Pennsylvania and Delaware, representing more than 21,000 workers across the east coast. Morgan, who has a long history with SEIU and its work in the Keystone State, also serves as the president of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council, the statewide political arm of the SEIU and its members.

STEVE CATANESE PRESIDENT SEIU Local 668 Elected president of SEIU Local 668 in 2017, Steve Catanese represents approximately 20,000 workers in the social services sector throughout the state, including workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. He spearheaded a memberto-member organizing campaign early on in his tenure, increasing Local 668’s membership despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling in 2018. He previously worked as a business agent for the union, and as a rank-and-file member when he worked at a County Assistance Office in Pittsburgh.

Steve Catanese is president of SEIU Local 668, which represents thousands of public sector workers.



Fraternal Order of Police



It’s hard to find someone that looks out for law enforcement more than Les Neri. In addition to his duties as a leader of the Fraternal Order of Police, Neri also serves as president of the Pennsylvania State Lodge. He has assisted local lodges in collective bargaining, pension and grievance issues and pushed for legislation that created 100% college tuition assistance for children of fallen officers.

His deep Democratic roots make Dougherty a political powerhouse in Pennsylvania.

20 LYNNE FOX INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT Workers United Philadelphia Joint Board The international president of Workers United, Lynne Fox has been in the position for more than 15 years. She also serves as the manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board, the same position her father held from 1982 to 1999. Fox

PRESIDENT Pennsylvania State Correctional Officers Association John Eckenrode began as a correctional officer in 1999, working his way up through the ranks at state prisons in Cresson and Benner townships. He has been dedicated to serving his fellow correctional officers since, holding executive board positions at SCI-Cresson, SCIBenner and PSCOA Western Region. He took over as statewide president this year and continues to advocate on behalf of PSCOA’s more than 10,000 members.


Starting at PSEA back in 2004, Jim Vaughan was involved in government relations, lobbying and advocacy for 11 years before becoming the executive director in 2015. Throughout his tenure, Vaughan has worked to elect pro-public education candidates and heralded legislation that he felt boosted funds for public education. He’s worked with the Wolf administration to reduce health risks in schools during the pandemic and remains focused on ensuring safe, in-person classes this upcoming year.



Executive Board James J. Gardler, President Jeff C. Reamer, Executive Vice President Marisa MacCrory, Secretary-Treasurer Richard R Dezzi, Eastern Region Vice President Gregg Bialek, Western Region Vice President

Congratulations to all awardees and our own J. David Henderson, David R. Fillman and Jane Gill We Make Pennsylvania Happen! 1-800-523-7263 J. David Henderson, Executive Director

40 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

27 DARRIN KELLY PRESIDENT Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council


Darrin Kelly was elected president of the AlleghenyFayette Central Labor Council in 2018, succeeding Jack Shea as the council’s chief elected officer. As the council’s president, Kelly represents the needs of the council’s affiliated unions and members. With decades of experience as a firefighter for the City of Pittsburgh, Kelly is also an active member of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1.

AARON CHAPIN VICE PRESIDENT Pennsylvania State Education Association

24 FRANK SNYDER SECRETARY-TREASURER Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Frank Snyder began his career as a third-generation steelworker, but he quickly rose through the ranks of union leadership. He served as president of the USWA Local 8148 for more than 12 years and spent time as an organizer for Steelworkers District 10 before jumping to the national AFL-CIO, where worked on organizing initiatives. He later was tapped as the AFL-CIO’s

Nina EspositoVisgitis has been an active member of the Pittsburgh community for more than 30 years.

Pennsylvania state director before unanimously being elected the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer in 2010.

25 NINA ESPOSITO-VISGITIS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AFT Pennsylvania Nina Esposito-Visgitis serves as president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, representing more than 3,100 teachers, paraprofessionals and other educational staff in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city. Under her leadership, the union advocates for increased support and protections for teachers. She also serves as the executive vice president for the American Federation of Teachers’ Pennsylvania union,

which is made up of 57 local AFT affiliates.



Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO


Few Pennsylvanians represent as many workers as Patrick Eiding. In his sixth term as president, he supports more than 150,000 working families and 100 unions in the Philadelphia region. He began in organized labor as business manager and financial secretary of the Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 14, rising through the ranks within the AFL-CIO. He also represents workers as a member of several boards, including as commissioner of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.



Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Coming from a family of public school teachers, Jerry Jordan knows the importance of education. The Philadelphia native earned degrees in Education and Spanish from Temple University and went on to teach English as a Second Language in the Philadelphia School District. He joined PFT in 1987 and worked his way up the ladder to become president in 2008.


Going into his third year as vice president of PSEA, Aaron Chapin has served on Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2020 Census Committee and as PSEA’s state officer liaison to the Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenues. He has taught fourth and fifth grade for 25 years, having previously served as president, chief negotiator and more for the Stroudsburg Area Education Association. He said he vows to combat teacher shortages going forward.


! n s o i a t u l ! s n t o r a i gratulat C ng on Co onbehalf behalfofofour our on Members,Board Boardand and Staff Members, Staff


Ryan N. Ryan N. Boyer Boyer on being included in

on on being being included included in in



42 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021


continues her work in the area as a commissioner on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.


Jamie Martin is president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Jordan recently expressed support for a vaccine mandate for teachers, but the school district has yet to act.


message in upcoming contract negotiations.







AFSCME District Council 33

Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties

Ernest Garrett made headlines last year when District Council 33 officially unseated its incumbent president. Virtually overnight, he became the union’s first new leader in more than two decades. Now representing about 10,000 members and 15 unions, Garrett is supporting city workers ranging from the water department to the sanitation department. His surprise election was a blow to establishment labor leaders in Philadelphia, and he’ll use his worker-centric

Dr. Jamie Martin, a professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was elected president of the APSCUF back in April 2020. She previously served three terms as vice president and was involved in faculty and coaches’ negotiating teams during the last two contract negotiations. Looking forward, Martin said she will continue fighting for higher education funding and to shine a light on student debt.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776


Michele Kessler has organized and represented workers with United Food & Commercial Workers for more than 30 years. She currently serves more than 35,000 members in food packing and processing, grocery, retail and cannabis, and is a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. Kessler was elected as the international chair for UFCW’s constituency group for LGBTQ members and their allies in 2013 and

33 SILAS RUSSELL VICE PRESIDENT SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania As the vice president of the 45,000-plus member organization, Silas Russell has driven the political strategy for the coalition of health care workers. He has pushed to hold the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center accountable and to protect consumer access. Recently, he was instrumental in state Rep. Ed Gainey’s primary win in the Pittsburgh Democratic mayoral primary. Russell continues to work with lawmakers in Harrisburg, advocating for workers’ rights and better access to bedside care.

34 JEFF NEY TREASURER Pennsylvania State Education Association A longtime teacher and Pennsylvania State Education Association leader, Jeff Ney brings local, regional and state expertise to the education association. He began at the Wilkes-Barre Area Education


With his recent election as the AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer, Fred Redmond became the first African American to hold the AFL-CIO’s number two office. He also brings a Pittsburgh perspective to the national ranks of the AFLCIO, having spent decades working for United Steelworkers International. An active member of USW since joining in 1973, Redmond served as shop steward, grievance committee member and chairman, and most recently, vice president.

Congratulations to our Chair of the Board, Lynne Fox, on being recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful people in labor. She has always led the fight for social, racial and economic justice.

Member FDIC

44 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

Association, where he held the position of president from 2007 to 2017. From there, he took over as treasurer of PSEA, serving as chair of the budget, audit and property committees. In his hometown area, Ney continues to teach elementary school and coach local swim teams.

35 SECRETARY-TREASURER SEIU Local 668 SEIU Local 668’s 20,000 workers in human services bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic early on. JoAnne Sessa has been representing them as secretary-treasurer since 2015 and has been fighting for union members to be respected for a lot longer. In addition to her work with SEIU, Sessa has also spent time serving on the Southeastern Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and Harrisburg Regional and Delaware County central labor councils.

Chris Woods began attending union meetings when his grandmother brought him as a chid.

union and negotiate better pay and benefits. Kossoff also serves as a board member of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, a statewide environmentally-focused PAC.





Chris Woods has been a consistent voice for health care workers in the City of Philadelphia. As president of AFSCME District 1199C, he represents more than 13,000 workers in all fields in major health care institutions in the region. He continually fights for better wages, benefits and working conditions for union members and has been a vocal supporter of providing adequate resources to nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the pandemic.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEIU Pennsylvania State Council The SEIU Pennsylvania State Council consists of four local SEIUs and nearly 60,000 members, and at the helm is Reesa Kossoff. As the executive director, she is one of the state’s leading advocates fighting for the rights of workers to form a

National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, District 1199C

Reesa Kossoff is one of the youngest labor leaders in Southeastern Pennsylvania.







International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66

Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association

Thomas Melisko Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps in joining IUOE Local 66 and has continued the family tradition of advocating for workers. As the business manager, he represents more than 7,700 operating engineers in 33 counties in western Pennsylvania and three counties in Ohio. Local 66 remains a politically active organization, with Melisko and his members working with lawmakers to protect wages, benefits and working conditions for engineers.

J.T. Pennington currently serves as the president of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents 76 municipal fire departments, as well as more than 8,000 professional firefighters and medics across the Keystone State. Before being elected president, Pennington served as the union’s secretary/treasurer, western vice president and state trustee. Pennington is an Army veteran and retired captain of the Aliquippa Bureau of Fire, and also serves on the governor’s Fire Service Advisory Board.



Nursing Home Caregivers Are Demanding Change. Join Them.

PhilaPort salutes the hardworking, dedicated men and women on the waterfront. We deliver because you deliver. Pittsburgh Welcomes & Congratulates


46 CityAndStatePA .com


September 2021

In addition to heading Philly’s newspaper guild, Mastrull is also a long-distance runner.

Wuchinich played a significant role advocating for those out of work and on the front lines, pushing for advance wages and better health benefits.



PRESIDENT Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia


Diane Mastrull has been an officer for the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia for nearly 20 years and has been a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter for even longer. She started at the Inquirer in 1997 and has since covered everything from suburban development to the green economy. Today, Mastrull is a breaking news editor and continues to support Back On My Feet, a nonprofit that uses running and community support to help people struggling with addiction.

PRESIDENT Unite Here Local 57

engineer for Altoona and is representing more than 65,000 state employees as president of the executive board.


A member of Unite Here Local 57 since 1985, Sue Scattaregia has been involved in the hospitality union since before many of its current members were born. As president, she represents about 2,600 workers in hotel and food service in the Pittsburgh area and into West Virginia. She’s used her expertise to stand up for workers who said area hotels misused federal pandemic relief dollars meant to keep employees on their payroll.


David Kennedy represents more than 4,300 active and retired state troopers as president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association. He has been critical of Gov. Tom Wolf throughout the pandemic for not prioritizing law enforcement during the state’s mask and COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as well as for his comments on race and police brutality. Kennedy continually assures members he is committed to fighting for fair wages, good benefits and the overall safety of state troopers.

42 JANE GILL PRESIDENT AFSCME Council 13 With more than 20 years of experience in the AFSCME, Jane Gill leads AFSCME Council 13 in Harrisburg. She began with the public service employee union in 2001 when she was a payroll clerk for the City of Altoona. Today, she is in her 12th year as the floodplain administrator and office

Wuchinich’s union represents about 4,000 hotel, airport and food service workers.





Unite Here Local 274


Rosslyn Wuchinich leads the largest Unite Here chapter in the state, representing more than 4,000 private sector hotel and food services workers in the Philadelphia region. Many Local 274 members are food service workers at Philadelphia International Airport and the sports stadiums. Over the past year,

Unite Here Local 634 Nicole Hunt oversees the Philadelphia chapter of Unite Here, representing more than 2,200 public sector food service workers and student climate staff for the Philadelphia School District. She played a key role in organizing the labor board to


Pennsylvania State Troopers Association

Congratulations to UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV and Secretary-Treasurer Michele Kessler! Local 1776 is proud to be an advocate for all workers, including our LGBTQ members. Local 1776 is leading the fight for equality by adding strong protections against discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Local 1776 wants to remind you to get vaccinated! Vaccines are safe, free and easy to access. Together, responsibly, we will beat Covid-19. UFCW Local 1776 UFCW1776.ORG 866-329-1776

Start hiring now on Pennsylvania’s highestquality job site.

Congratulations to SEIU Local 668 leaders

Steve Catanese &

JoAnne Sessa SEIU Local 668 proudly represents 20,000 social service workers throughout Pennsylvania.

City & State Jobs help hundreds of job seekers and employers find the right fit every day Contact us at

48 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

keep Local 634 within Unite Here and served as chief negotiator for the bargaining team during its most recent round of negotiations for health care coverage with the school district.

from vulnerable workers to labor mediations. She was confirmed by the state Senate in June.

46 PHILIP AMERIS BUSINESS MANAGER Western Pennsylvania Laborers’ District Council

Philadelphia Works, Inc. creates and manages employment services and workforce development programs. Leading the group is H. Patrick Clancy, who brings more than 20 years of experience to the table. Clancy previously served as a special advisor on the Employment and Training Programs for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and most notably, he helped the launch of the online PHL Career Portal for the city’s economic recovery plans.

48 47



The newest CEO of Partner4Work is Robert Cherry, who assumed the role in July. He brings years of workforce development and public policy experience to the public workforce system for Pittsburgh and Allegheny

PRESIDENT AND CEO Philadelphia Works As the city’s workforce development board,


Berrier gained broad knowledge of L&I through 15 years of experience in building safety and labor mediation.

CEO Partner4Work


counties. Cherry comes from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, where he oversaw 2,500 employees and developed partnerships to help the veteran workforce. He looks to continue his work helping dislocated workers and young people navigate the labor market.

49 JENNIFER BERRIER SECRETARY Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2019 to fill the top vacancy at the state Department of Labor & Industry, Jennifer Berrier ascended to secretary of the department after 15 years at L&I. Berrier was most recently the department’s deputy secretary for safety and labor-management relations where she managed four separate bureaus that touched on everything

Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee As chair of the Senate Labor & Industry Committee, state Sen. Camera Bartolotta is a key gatekeeper of legislation pertaining to wages, workplace conditions and all things labor. In 2019, Bartolotta helped shepherd a negotiated bill through the Senate that would have raised the state’s minimum wage and has advocated for bolstered workplace protections for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. Bartolotta also used her committee to conduct oversight of the state’s unemployment system throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

51 JIM COX CHAIR Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee State Rep. Jim Cox wields a significant amount of power as chair of the House Labor &


As head of the Western Pennsylvania Laborers’ District Council, Philip Ameris represents the interests of multiple laborers unions throughout western Pennsylvania. He has been an outspoken advocate for the creation of blue-collar jobs in the Pittsburgh region and has touted the Shell cracker plant as a prime example of how policymakers can bring blue-collar jobs to the area. He has also drawn a hard line on endorsing candidates who promote the creation of union jobs in their votes and with their proposed policies.

All Being Represented

Labor Leaders Labor Relations Professionals Government Officials at the PA Department of Labor Members, Officers, and Staff of

Local Union #126 IBEW

Richard I. Muttik Business Manager & Financial Secretary

October 5, 2021 • 5:00 - 6:30 PM Let’s celebrate Pennsylvania’s most prominent leaders in government, business, media and beyond over the age of 50 as we highlight fifty of the most distinguished public servants in Pennsylvania who have committed decades of their lives to making Pennsylvania a better place.

For more information about City & State Events, please contact For information about advertising and sponsorship opportunities, please contact


50 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

legislation this session to enhance protections for workers at meatpacking and food processing plants, as well as a proposal to modernize and improve the state’s Unemployment Compensation Law after the system experienced extreme challenges at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

JAMES DARBY CHAIR Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board

Tartaglione is minority chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee.

Industry Committee. Cox holds key oversight responsibilities on all labor-related issues and has helped spearhead bills aiming to enhance workforce development initiatives. Earlier this year, he and the House Labor & Industry Committee passed legislation to modernize the unemployment compensation system and allow workers and employers to participate in appeal hearings by video.

52 CHRISTINE TARTAGLIONE MINORITY CHAIR Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee As minority chair of the Senate Labor & Industry Committee, state Sen. Christine Tartaglione has made labor issues a key focus of her legislative career, leading advocacy efforts to raise the state’s minimum wage and increase protections for workers. Tartaglione has

sponsored legislation this session to raise the minimum wage to $15, expand OSHA protections to public sector employees, prevent wage theft and incentivize new apprenticeship programs in the state – further underscoring her dedication to labor policy.

53 GERALD MULLERY MINORITY CHAIR Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee State Rep. Gerald Mullery is a powerful Democratic voice on the House Labor & Industry Committee where he serves as an ideological foil to GOP Chairman Jim Cox. Mullery has sponsored

As one of the most experienced labor arbitrators and mediators in the commonwealth, James Darby chairs the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. He’s been appointed to the board twice and has helped it resolve labor disputes and collective bargaining rights issues. Before then, he spent time in Harrisburg as both the deputy counsel and special assistant to Gov. Bob Casey Sr. and deputy auditor general and chief counsel to Auditor General Bob Casey Jr.

55 DEVAN SPEAR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Philadelphia Jobs with Justice If there’s one thing Devan Spear is committed to, it’s fighting for workers. Spear leads Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, a coalition of labor unions and community groups advocating for fairer treatment

Spear and other organizers have been vocal advocates for putting people over profit.

56 MAUREEN MAY PRESIDENT Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals Maureen May has led PASNAP, a statewide union of more than 9,000 nurses and other health professionals, since 2018. She’s brought more than 30 years of experience to the union as a registered nurse, and has previous experience as president of the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association. PASNAP is supportive of safe staffing protocols, universal health care and backs measures to protect health care workers from harassment.

57 BETSY SNOOK CEO Pennsylvania State Nurses Association Betsy Snook manages the Pennsylvania State Nurses



of working people. Earlier this year, Spear and other organizers marched through Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania’s campuses calling on both schools to make payments instead of taxes to support the School District of Philadelphia.

Group • Stop Loss • Voluntary Amalgamated Life Insurance Company

Congratulates our Board Chair Lynne Fox On Being Named to the 2021 Pennsylvania Labor Power 100 Paul Mallen President & Chief Executive Officer

Amalgamated Life Insurance Company 333 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY 10604

Amalgamated Family of Companies Amalgamated Life ▲ Amalgamated Employee Benefits Administrators ▲ Amalgamated Medical Care Management ▲ Amalgamated Agency ▲ AliGraphics

52 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

Association, a group that’s part of the more than 200,000-member national nurses association. Snook and PSNA have advocated for measures that would set “safe staffing” levels for nurses, which caps the number of patients that a nurse can be assigned. PSNA also supports legislation that would establish multi-state nursing licenses, thus allowing nurses in Pennsylvania to practice in 34 other states.

WILLIE BROWN PRESIDENT Transport Workers Union Local 234 As the leader of Transport Workers Union Local 234, Willie Brown represents more than 5,000 Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and transit workers. Brown has gone back and forth with SEPTA throughout the pandemic, as the union has accused the agency of being slow to get its members PPE and update its sick-leave policies. He’s prioritizing better paid leave policies, death compensation for the families of workers who died from COVID-19 and more during upcoming contract negotiations.

59 ROSS NICOTERO PRESIDENT/BUSINESS AGENT Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 Ross Nicotero took charge of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, a union representing more than 2,200 workers from the Port


Brown’s union represents more than 5,000 SEPTA and transit workers.

Authority of Allegheny County, July 1, following his election win. While working his way through the organization, Nicotero most recently spent time as a driving instructor. He’s said he will remain committed to all drivers, operators, maintenance workers and more, and will fight to establish sustainable funding for public transit.


of state bills designed to incentivize manufacturers to base their operations in Pennsylvania by creating targeted tax abatement zones, streamlining environmental permitting and lowering the corporate net income tax.



Ironworkers Local No. 3


Greg Bernarding represents more than 1,800 western Pennsylvanians as the Ironworkers Local No. 3’s business manager. The union was founded in 1896 to provide health care and benefits to its members and includes workers specialized in steel work, concrete construction, bridge erection, welding, wind turbine construction and more. Local

Steamfitters 449 As business manager for Steamfitters 449, Kenneth Broadbent represents the interests of roughly 2,700 steamfitters – workers who manufacture, install and perform maintenance work on pipe systems. Broadbent has advocated for a package

Bernarding’s ironworkers had been training for the Mon Valley Works project before it was cancelled by U.S. Steel.

Kevin Boyle is the business manager and financial secretary-treasurer for Ironworkers Local 401, a union based in Philadelphia that has approximately 700 active members who are trained in working with structural steel, precast concrete structures and pre-engineered metal buildings, among other projects. Boyle has experience in construction himself, and his union has endorsed candidates running for public office in the past, largely on the basis of how they stand on workers’ rights and right-towork laws.

63 KERRY ZETTLEMOYER BUSINESS MANAGER Ironworkers Local Union No. 404 Kerry Zettlemoyer’s union covers 30 counties throughout the Keystone State. Ironworkers Local Union No. 404 represents more than 900 workers and includes members who specialize in assembling building frameworks, reinforcing steel and constructing power plants, among other projects. The union, which is a local chapter of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers, is also a member of the Ironworkers District Council of Philadelphia.



No. 3 includes workers from Pittsburgh, Clearfield and Erie.

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


reelected to a full term. As director of Region 9, Binz represents members across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania who manufacture parts for Ford and Lincoln vehicles, as well as workers who build military helicopters.


64 DONALD WANAMAKER BUSINESS MANAGER Ironworkers Local 502 As the top official at Ironworkers Local 502, Donald Wanamaker leads a union of ironworkers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Members of the local specialize in welding, structural work, ornamental work and steel fabrication. In addition to being the union’s business manager, he is also one of the local’s delegates to Washington, D.C., as well as the union’s financial secretarytreasurer.

65 DAVID CALLIS BUSINESS MANAGER Ironworkers Local 521 David Callis leads the Scranton-based Ironworkers Local 521 as its business manager and president, and is a first-class fitter for McGregor Industries, a company in

67 Dunmore, Pennsylvania that fabricates and installs metal pieces for buildings and other projects. Callus was present when now-President Joe Biden made a campaign stop at McGregor Industries last year, a move that underscored the importance of union support in the 2020 general election.

66 STEPHEN SWEENEY VICE PRESIDENT International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Stephen Sweeney is a significant and controversial figure in the region’s labor movement. He is general vice president of the international ironworkers union, a position he’s held since 2014. A longtime ironworker, he also currently serves as Ironworkers Local 404’s administrator – a local union that covers 30 Pennsylvania counties. At one time, he was an administrator of the Ironworkers Local 401. Sweeney is also the current president of the New Jersey state Senate, first elected to that role in 2010.

GREGORY BLOSE BUSINESS MANAGER/ FINANCIAL SECRETARYTREASURER Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 12 As a leader of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 12, Gregory Blose represents more than 1,100 members across 23 counties in western Pennsylvania. He recently helped the Pittsburgh-based union negotiate a new, fouryear contract and worked with the Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund trustees to secure more than $2 million in grant money for a new training center and union hall renovations.

68 JEFF BINZ DIRECTOR United Auto Workers Region 9 Jeff Binz was first elected to serve as the director of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America’s Region 9 in 2018 at a special convention, and was later

BUSINESS MANAGER Boilermakers Local 154 Following in his father’s footsteps, John Hughes started as a boilermaker back in 1977. He was elected recording secretary of Local 154, the Pittsburgh-region lodge that was chartered in 1894, nearly 20 years into his career. Hughes worked his way through leadership positions over the years and assumed the role of business manager and secretarytreasurer in 2017. He now represents more than 1,500 journeymen, apprentices and trainees.

70 MICHAEL DUNLEAVY BUSINESS MANAGER IBEW Local Union 5 Michael Dunleavy represents Pittsburgh electrical workers as the business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 5 – a union that was founded in 1897. Over the past year, Dunleavy has used his influence to promote political candidates at all levels of government, primarily those dedicated to protecting union workers. He’s also a big advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine, having encouraged members to get vaccinated for the well-being of the union at large. Dunleavy is also a vice


Since 2000, Binz has served UAW in various leadership roles within the union’s Community Action Program.

54 CityAndStatePA .com

71 CHUCK KNISELL INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT 2 VICE PRESIDENT United Mine Workers of America As vice president of the United Mine Workers of America’s District 2, Chuck Knisell oversees a collection of local unions in Pennsylvania, New York and Canada made up of thousands. Members in District 2 include miners, corrections officers, county workers and manufacturers. Knisell has been a vocal advocate for workers at the Cumberland Mine, a coal mine based in Greene County that employs upwards of 500 miners and more than 100 workers in management positions.

73 RONALD TOMASETTI BUSINESS MANAGER Laborers Local 158 Laborers Local 158 – a regional affiliate of the Laborers International Union of North America – represents workers across northeastern and central Pennsylvania, and as its business manager, Ronald Tomasetti leads a union of workers specialized in heavy and highway construction. Local 158 includes members from 29 counties and has thrown its support around state-level legislation to create jobs in construction and the building trades. Tomasetti is also a trustee for the Laborers’ District Council of Easter Pennsylvania Education and Training Fund.

72 RICHARD LAZER DEPUTY MAYOR OF LABOR City of Philadelphia A long-time trusted advisor to Mayor Jim Kenney, Richard Lazer oversees numerous city economic development projects and organized labor initiatives. He handles all aspects of labor and employee relations for city workers, including more than 27,000 employees from the AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and International Association of Firefighters Local 22. He’s successfully negotiated several contracts and is now coordinating capital investments in recreation centers, libraries, parks and playgrounds.


Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend is president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network.

Schonfield has worked on Sen. Bob Casey’s Employment Roundtable, received the 2014 Association of People Supporting Employment First’s Best Practices Award and established herself as an expert on employment services for those who struggle with disabilities.



Philadelphia Youth Network

Community Integrated Services

As the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, Chekemma FulmoreTownsend supports more than 15,000 young people in the region every year. Her dedication to dismantling poverty for youth and young adults is demonstrated by her commitment to creating coordinated systems

Susan Schonfield has served as Community Integrated Services’ executive director for more than 25 years and has helped the organization grow to provide employment services to 2,000 people with disabilities each year.

that promote academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. She was appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to the Workforce Development Board and currently serves as chair to the board’s youth committee.

76 NICOLE KLIGERMAN DIRECTOR Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance Nicole Kligerman has been a leading voice in Philadelphia labor for more than a decade. She began as a union organizer with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals before founding the state chapter of National Domestic Workers Alliance in 2007. Her organizational work has brought together


president of the Allegheny/ Fayette Central Labor Council.

September 2021

September 2021

77 PAUL ANTHONY BUSINESS MANAGER IBEW Local 375 Paul Anthony represents close to 1,000 members as business manager and financial secretary of IBEW Local 375, based in Allentown. This union is comprised of workers in electrical construction, public works, television and communications, as well as power generation, and is dedicated to managing labor relations and strengthening relationships with customers. Prior to his time as business manager, Anthony was a training director for the local’s joint apprenticeship training committee.

78 JIM IRWIN PRESIDENT Lehigh Valley Labor Council Jim Irwin’s been involved in organized labor since high school, when he joined AFSCME Local 1435 while working at Gracedale Nursing home in Northampton County. He later helped gather more than 30,000 signatures to have a referendum question put on the county ballot to keep Gracedale from being privatized. Now, he serves as president of AFSCME Council 13’s staff union, PICSU and president of the Lehigh Valley Labor Council.


79 JACK LEE JR. PRESIDENT Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council A career member of Roofers 210, Jack Lee Jr. has been involved in the labor movement for more than 40 years. He has continued his work in the Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council, where he was recently elected president. He’s helped develop community projects and advocated for social and economic justice on behalf of members. His public service hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he was elected Summit Township Supervisor in 2014.

80 DAVID GASH PRESIDENT Harrisburg Central Labor Council David Gash leads the Harrisburg Central Labor Council, the local AFL-CIO covering six counties in the Capitol region. During his time as president, Gash has condemned stagnant wages and outdated labor laws, stating that the working poor are tired of struggling. He continues his advocacy for worker’s rights as the AFL-CIO pushes for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in Congress.

Irwin has appeared on “The Rick Smith Show” podcast, which appeals to working people, particularly in labor unions.

81 ED MOONEY INTERNATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT Communications Workers of America, District 2-13 The lead man for all communications workers in the region is Ed Mooney. As the International Vice President of CWA District 2-13, he is responsible for serving locals in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. Mooney was elected in 2011 after spending two years as president of the CWA Local 13000. Earlier this year, Mooney provided testimony

Mooney’s members have been vocal about expanding broadband access.

to the Senate Communication and Technology Committee in opposition to small cell deployment preemption bills.

82 JAMES GARDLER PRESIDENT Communications Workers of America Local 13000 James Gardler joined the Communications Workers of America in 1992 and has been working for them ever since. He has held various positions within the local union until he was elected president in 2008. He uses his labor experience in his capacities as secretarytreasurer of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO. In his current role with Local 13000, Gardler oversees about 4,700 members and is responsible for upholding 22 contracts.


movements to end deportations and family separation, as well as provide critical labor protections for the city’s 16,000 house cleaners, caregivers and nannies.

City & State Pennsylvania


Tori Shriver Drew Simpson III Layla Bibi

Left to right: Tori Shriver, Drew Simpson III and Layla Bibi


HE EASTERN Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters includes more than 41,000 carpenters across seven states, including Pennsylvania. Elizabeth “Tori” Shriver was appointed political director of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters after four years as the deputy political director. She assists in mobilizing members and lobbying lawmakers for worker’s rights and facilitates the endorsements of labor candidates. Drew Simpson III, a 23-year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, serves as both the regional manager of Pennsylvania Local 445 and vice president of the

regional council. He oversees activities in the commonwealth and West Virginia. Earlier this year, Simpson was appointed to the Pennsylvania Joint Task Force on Misclassification and Employees, which looks to address wage theft and worker misclassification in the state. Another strong advocate for its members, particularly sisters in the brotherhood, is Layla Bibi. Bibi began her apprenticeship in 2005 and after 16 years as a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Bibi was named committee co-chair. As a member of the National Association of Women in Construction, the Carpenters Contractor Trust Board and an executive member of Local 158, she

says she is committed to engaging and educating sisters in order to strengthen the union. In the commonwealth, the regional council is pushing to pass legislation related to stop work orders and fight for stronger protections for workers. The council’s top policy priorities include developing a Philadelphia Local Liability Ordinance that would create a burden for business owners in instances where they hire contractors and subcontractors who fail to pay their workers, as well as passing a Pittsburgh city ordinance that would require contractors to disclose who their subcontractors are on their building permits. – Harrison Cann



September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


in 2014 as the director of government relations before taking over as president just a year later. He now manages more than $5 billion in assets and serves as a trustee for several union benefits and training funds.



IBEW Local Union 126

EASTERN ATLANTIC STATES REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS SEE PAGE 56. Connors is president and CEO of the General Building Contractors Association.

84 JOHN MCNESBY PRESIDENT Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 A former Philadelphia police officer, John McNesby has been a member of the Philadelphia Lodge #5 Fraternal Order of Police since 1989. He’s served in various executive positions since 2000, before taking over as president in 2007. He now represents more than 14,000 active and retired police officers. Most notably, he helped successfully negotiate five contracts and led the union headquarters’ relocation to northeast Philadelphia.

85 JIM LEIDING PRESIDENT Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Retired Faculty Jim Leiding took over as president of the association for retired college and

McNesby started off as a patrolman in 1989 and has led the FOP since 2007.

university faculty after spending his career as an active APSCUF member. He served as Meet and Discuss Chairman at the local level and as a delegate at the state level for 30 years during his time at East Stroudsburg University. As a professor, he also played a significant role in the development of the school’s sociology major and department.

86 BENJAMIN CONNORS PRESIDENT AND CEO General Building Contractors Association Going into his sixth year as president of the General Building Contractors Association, Benjamin Connors oversees that association’s labor relations, educational and marketing activities. He joined GBCA

88 DAVE DAQUELENTE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania Dave Daquelente has been executive director of the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania since 2019. Prior to joining the contractors trade association, Daquelente served as executive director of the Ironworker Employers Association. Today, he represents MBA’s more than 240 general contractors, which make up more than 80% of the region’s commercial construction industry. He continues to ensure the safety of workers and enhance the association’s status in the Pittsburgh area.


Richard Muttik has been a member of the electrical workers union for nearly 30 years. Since 1991, he’s worked as a journeyman lineman, steward and foreman on various projects, and worked his way through Local Union 126’s leadership. He took over as business manager and financial secretary in 2001 and continues to serve the electrical line construction and maintenance industry in Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


58 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

89 ELYSE FORD VICE PRESIDENT National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees District 1199C


As vice president of District 1199C, Ford oversees thousands of workers and negotiations.








Communications Workers of America Local 13500

Pittsburgh Region Building Trades Council Elected to the position of business agent in 2005, Tom Melcher has been serving the Pittsburgh Regional Building & Construction Trades Council ever since. He took over as business manager in 2018 and has worked to support the union and its members through legislative advocacy and local partnerships. Melcher’s labor work doesn’t stop there, as he’s also an executive board member of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Allegheny County Labor Council.

Serving as the local president of the Communications Workers of America Local 13500 since 2015, Julie Daloisio represents more than 600 telecommunications and information technology workers across the commonwealth. She’s worked with Pennsylvania and congressional lawmakers to advocate for better education and apprenticeship programs, arguing that her membership is down due to work being moved out of the area, and even overseas.

Daloisio represents more than 600 telecommunications and IT workers in the state.


and economic development to the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley. Under her leadership, WBLV negotiates partnerships with legislative and policy makers and develops career pathways for workers. Most recently, Dischinat has pushed to align workforce development with the Lehigh Valley’s future workforce, implementing workforce centers in high schools to ensure students have the knowledge and skills they need for college and careers.

94 93 NANCY DISCHINAT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Workforce Board Lehigh Valley Nancy Dischinat brings more than 30 years of experience in the business of workforce

CATHY RYCHALSKY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board Cathy Rychalsky is responsible for guiding the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board through regulatory changes as well as program and business development. As LCWDB’s executive director since 2015, she helps the organization foster community


Elyse Ford’s connection to NUHHCE District 1199C goes back to her youth, when her grandmother was the executive vice president. She first got involved as an union organizer in 2006 before becoming the fulltime nursing home division director in 2018. Today, as the vice president of the nursing home division, Ford oversees thousands of workers and more than 50 collective bargaining agreements with nursing homes throughout the Philadelphia region.



Mike Knecht Michael Wise Joseph Rostock


ABORERS HAVE BANDED together to fight for their collective interests since 1836, when the first recognized laborers union was formed in Philadelphia. And since the Laborers International Union of North America – often shortened to the Laborers’ or LiUNA – was formed in 1903, the international union has grown to include more than 500,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada. In Pennsylvania, local LiUNA unions represent members in the construction and energy industries across the Keystone State, from the Lehigh Valley and the northeast all the way to central Pennsylvania. Mike Knecht is the business manager for Local 1174, part of the Laborers’ District Council of Eastern Pennsylvania. His district covers Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Lebanon

and Schuylkill counties. Local 1174 was organized in 1937 and has been serving workers at the forefront of the construction industry ever since. Knecht now leads the union and fights to improve the wages, benefits and working conditions for its more than 700 members. Local 1180 is the Laborers’ District Council of Eastern Pennsylvania affiliate encompassing Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, York and more counties in southern, central and northern Pennsylvania. Michael Wise, Local 1180’s business manager, oversees the union that includes workers for power plants, masonry contractors, hazardous waste removal, demolition and more. In this role, Wise serves about 500 members and supports the Harrisburg-based union through collective bargaining and fights for better wages and benefits.

And in the northeastern part of the state, Joseph Rostock leads Laborers’ Local 130, the Scranton-based affiliate of the Eastern Pennsylvania District Council. Local 130, which organized back in 1911, consists of about 400 members in services including demolition, lead abatement, scaffold building and support, forklift operating and more. Rostock has joined the calls by LiUNA to push Congress to pass an infrastructure bill that invests in roads, bridges and other major projects resulting in more jobs for American workers. So, no matter if you’re on the eastern side of the state or if you venture toward the state capital of Harrisburg, LiUNA locals represent workers in various trades across the map in pursuit of better wages, better conditions and better job opportunities. - Justin Sweitzer


Left to right: Mike Knecht, Michael Wise and Joseph Rostock



Jesse McCree, Pam Streich, Patti Lenahan, Erica Mulberger


Jesse McCree and Erica Mulberger

board in its efforts to engage business and industry, education, economic development and community organizations to participate in the public workforce system. And Erica Mulberger is executive director of Advance Central PA. She supports both a 20-member private sectorled Workforce Development Board and a nine-county local elected official board.

She oversees the operations of six PA CareerLink locations throughout central Pennsylvania, and in the last two years, has guided her team through a rebranding effort and the launch of three new websites geared towards connecting youth, job seekers, businesses and public service providers. - Harrison Cann


ENNSYLVANIA’S local workforce development boards create a network of providers and programs shaped to boost economic development and enhance education and training across the state’s workforce. There are many local workforce development boards throughout the state, so these are just a few making large impacts on their communities. Jesse McCree is in his fifth year as CEO of South Central PA Works, which covers Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Perry and York counties. McCree began at SCPa in 2015 as a director of strategic initiatives. He brings years of public policy, nonprofit management and academic research experience to the second largest workforce development board in the state, operating six PA CareerLink sites in its region. Pam Streich leads the North Central Workforce Development Board, which serves the counties of Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter. She brings 23 years of experience to the table and has helped lead grant writing efforts for regional projects, as well as developed public-private partnerships that increased investment in the workforce system. Patricia Lenahan is the executive director of the private, non-profit corporation that serves as a workforce investment board in both Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. She began there as a planner in 2004 before working her way up to executive director in 2013. In her leadership role, Lenahan supports the

September 2021

City & State Pennsylvania


collaborations and promote economic mobility. Rychalsky joined Department of Labor & Industry representatives in August to advocate for statewide use of SkillUp PA, a free, online job training program that Lancaster is already taking advantage of.

JOHN DODDS DIRECTOR Philadelphia Unemployment Project


John Dodds has been the director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project since its inception in 1975. In his role, Dodds has led the organization through initiatives to link those who are unemployed with job opportunities and to fight on behalf of the poor. More recently, PUP has brought together community groups to call for a higher minimum wage, equitable mass transit and better health care access.


96 DEPUTY SECRETARY OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry A Philadelphia native, Sheila Ireland spent years developing innovative workforce programming for the city before taking over as deputy secretary for workforce development with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry last year. While working for the City of Philadelphia, she collaborated with education and training organizations to create career pathways for the city’s most vulnerable populations. Now, she oversees $255 million in funding and the state’s public workforce system.

97 MIKE STEPHENSON PRESIDENT Pennsylvania Postal Workers Union Through rain or shine, postal

An interest in people’s behaviors prompted Ireland to get involved with career training.

workers are there and Mike Stephenson is there for them. As president, Stephenson oversees the state union as well as 30 different member locals across the commonwealth. He was openly against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s decisions to remove sorting machines and eliminate overtime hours, arguing that the moves crippled the mail delivery system as mail-in voting was spiking during the pandemic.

100 BARNEY OURSLER DIRECTOR Mon Valley Unemployed Committee The Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, which helps unemployed workers get benefits and fights for workers’ rights, is led by Barney Oursler. Oursler has criticized the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry during the pandemic for its failure to keep up with unemployment claims and the decision to switch to a new system in the midst of the backlog. He’s also involved in the Western Pennsylvania Living Wage Campaign advocating for raising the minimum wage.

Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union Local 22

Bresnan took over the presidency in 2019 after 12 years of membership. The union endorsed Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s reelection campaign and has improved its relationship with city leadership. Bresnan has said he wants to work with officials to ensure firefighters are better protected from toxins and compensated for occupational health outcomes.

The first responders’ union in Philadelphia, representing about 4,700 firefighters and paramedics, is headed by President Michael Bresnan. As a fire department retiree,

As demand spiked for mail-in voting, Stephenson blamed the postmaster for sabotage.





62 CityAndStatePA .com

September 2021

CITY & STATE PENNSYLVANIA MANAGEMENT & PUBLISHING Publisher Susan Peiffer Group Publisher Tom Allon Event & Sales Director Lissa Blake Vice President of Operations Jasmin Freeman Comptroller David Pirozzi

Who was up and who was down last month


CONOR LAMB U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb entered the Democratic primary for outgoing U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat in early August and has already racked up major endorsements. After Lamb dropped the news that he will be running for Senate, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald immediately threw his support behind Lamb. VoteVets, a Democratic super PAC, also endorsed him, as did state Sens. Jay Costa, Wayne Fontana and Jim Brewster. The endorsements come as Lamb is expected to clash with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (also a western Pennsylvania native) in the early stages of the Democratic primary. Buckle up, folks, because this one’s going to get intense. JOHN JOYCE This physician, who represents the 13th Congressional District, has been making trips to pharmacies to encourage constituents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is quite the commendable endeavor as the delta variant spreads throughout the country.

CREATIVE Creative Director Andrew Horton Graphic Designer Aaron Aniton Photo Researcher Michelle Steinhauser ADVERTISING Senior Sales Executive Michael Fleck Sales and Events Coordinator Laura Hurliman DIGITAL Digital Director Michael Filippi Digital Marketing Manager Caitlin Dorman

DOUG MASTRIANO After struggling to get three counties to participate in his election audit, Mastriano was stripped of his committee duties and accused of “grandstanding.” Senate President Jake Corman then selected another lawmaker to lead the election probe, which only further inflamed the public spat between the two.

ADVISORY BOARD Chair Governor Ed Rendell Board members Leslie Gromis-Baker, Gene Barr, Samuel Chen, Joseph Hill, Teresa Lundy, Anne Wakabayashi, Ray Zaborney, Tricia Mueller


ANTHONY HAMLET Pittsburgh Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet had a rough August preparing for schools to reopen. As school districts are grappling with mask mandates, Hamlet found himself in the midst of a school bus shortage. The district is now reimbursing parents who are driving their kids to school. And a state ethics report released last month cited the superintendent for five ethics violations related to travel expenses, accepting money for appearances and failing to disclose financial interests. Hamlet’s now being forced to pay nearly $8,000 and forfeit 14 vacation days. To disclose, or not to disclose: That was the question. DANIEL HAWBAKER The State College-based construction firm Glenn O. Hawbaker pleaded no contest to charges of theft for alleged Prevailing Wage Act violations earlier this year and agreed to pay $20 million in stolen wages to more than 1,000 Pennsylvania workers. Hawbaker? More like lawbreaker, amirite?

Vol. 1 Issue 3 September 2021 Before the union

Labor leaders look back on early wages

Lou Barletta's seeking a second act The Trump Republican has ambitions to be the next governor

The thinner blue line

Police work to build back their ranks







Cover illustration: Nigel Buchanan

CITY & STATE PENNSYLVANIA is published monthly, 12 times a year by City & State NY, LLC, 61 Broadway, Suite 1315, New York, NY 10006-2763. Subscriptions: 202.964.1782 or Copyright ©2021, City & State NY, LLC.


JOANNA McCLINTON The House Democratic leader earned a long-sought victory after a panel voted that inmates in state prisons will be counted at their last known address for the purpose of drawing state legislative maps, as opposed to the prison at which they’re being held. The policy reverses a long trend of counting incarcerated people at prisons.




Summer vacations may be winding down, but Pennsylvania political drama never takes time off. This month’s Winners & Losers features one lawmaker following through on a promise and another getting stopped before he even really started. We hope you enjoy our August list of fame and shame. In the commonwealth, there’s always material to work with, but if you have suggestions for Winners & Losers, e-mail us at

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Jenny DeHuff Senior Reporter Justin Sweitzer Staff Reporter Harrison Cann NY Editor-in-Chief Ralph Ortega NY Managing Editor Eric Holmberg

Do you know a rising star in Pennsylvania government, politics, advocacy, business, labor, and media? Nominate them for City & State PA’s Forty Under 40! City & State PA will recognize forty individuals under the age of 40, who have already distinguished themselves in their fields and are on their way to amassing accomplishments well beyond their age. They have made great strides in their career and hold the promise of a bright future! Sounds like someone you know? Nominate a friend, client, or colleague for this honor! Honorees will be featured in a special print publication of City & State PA Magazine on November 15, 2021.

Scan here to nominate!

To be eligible, nominees must be a Pennsylvania State resident and must be 39 years of age or younger as of November 15, 2021. Nomination Deadline: Friday, September 24th at 6pm.



LABORERS’ LOCAL UNION 57 ESTEBAN VERA, JR. Business Manager Stanley Sanders George Hutt Charles Blackwell Confesor Plaza

Secretary-Treasurer President Vice President Recording Secretary

Executive Board, Membership & Staff

Profile for City & State PA

City & State Pennsylvania 090621  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded