Skip to comments.Scranton's Public Workers Now Paid Minimum Wage
Posted on 07/08/2012 3:05:32 PM PDT by kingattax
The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay including his own to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.
Doherty says his city has run out of money.
Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.
Doherty wants to raise taxes to fill a $16.8-million gap. The city council wants to take a different approach and borrow money. City council members did not respond to NPR's requests to discuss the dispute.
"I'm trying to do the best I can with the limited amount of funds that I have," Doherty says, "I want the employees to get paid. Our people work hard our police and fire I just don't have enough money and I can't print it in the basement."
After paying workers Friday, the city had only about $5,000 left in the bank. More money flowed into city accounts that day, but it was still not enough to pay the $1 million the city still owes to its nearly 400 employees.
Scranton's public workers received a few days' warning this was coming. John Judge, a firefighter and president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 60, typically receives about $1,500 every two weeks, after deductions. On Friday his check was less than $600 before deductions.
"Don't know how I'm going to pay bills at home. I may be able to stave it off for a little while," Judge says. "[The] kids aren't going to be able to do certain activities this summer maybe we're not going to be able to go on vacation."
The firefighters' union, along with the police and public works unions, have taken the city to court. Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse issued an injunction, essentially agreeing with the unions that the city was breaking the law, but Doherty says he doesn't have another choice. Despite the injunction, he had the city send out paychecks based on minimum wage.
The unions plan to be back in court first thing Monday morning to ask the judge to hold Doherty in contempt.
There's been no love lost between Doherty and the public employee unions because of this battle; they've already spent the past decade in a legal dispute over pay that went all the way to the state supreme court. Both sides come to this latest battle with plenty of baggage and hard feelings. But with nearly 400 city workers receiving a fraction of the pay they typically get, pressure is building to resolve the issue soon.
‘Wait, you mean getting paid a fat salary with generous benefits with the ability to retire at age 48 with full pension and benefits isnt a Human Right?’
You forgot free healthcare. But it is only a right if you where able to get a job with the government.
Maybe Scranton would do better if they changed the name of the city.
You are far too generous. If you were the mayor I recommend that you were fired! $3.25 per hour? How about they start paying back years of bloodsucking the taxpayers (as in negative pay)?
Well I’ve predicted that CA, IL, and NY will get federally guaranteed state bonds courtesy of Baraq.
Maybe need to add PA to the list?
“The thing of it is, you cant get blood out of a turnip even with a court injunction.”
But then you can hold the turnip in contempt.
Scranton is also Joe Biden’s birthplace.
Here in the capitol of MO, we always hear the lament as to how our state workers are ‘underpaid’ and deserve a raise since they haven’t had one recently...umm, neither have many others either, but that’s beside the point.
I’ve always said that we’ll know when state workers are ‘underpaid’ when we have trouble finding people to take the state jobs...but right now, the state is at 100% employment.
Personally, I’d cut the entire state’s work force’s pay by 10% per year until I had a 5%-10% job turnover rate per year or a 2-5% state job opening rate...then, I’d know that state workers were ‘underpaid’.
I was offered a job just North of Scranton about 15 years ago.
Drove around while I was working on a project in the area - depressing even then.
Cool train museum and hotel though....
Original name was Slocum, IIRC. The city’s present name came from George W. Scranton, founder of Lackawanna Steel and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad.
Why should any public employee outside of the Dept of Defense get anything more? Its just the government.
Scranton is a classic example of what happens under Democrat control.
City withholding taxes are at 3.4% versus adjacent cities collecting 1%. The Real Estate transfer tax is currently 4.3% versus the 2% in surrounding communities. The city has been studying an additional “commuter tax”.
This is a city where the median income for a household is $28,800.00.
Scranton is the answer to whether a city can tax it’s way to prosperity.
If it wasn’t for the University of Scranton, the city wouldn’t exist.
You have the correct approach.
It’s tough love and kind to both the taypayers and to the public employees.
"We're broke. Party's over." - Chris Doherty, 2012
---But has not run out of Obama supporters.
Well, Doherty had proposed a 78% (!!!) property tax increase, and council rejected it out of hand. I live in Scranton, and as people have said, it’s been a one-party town for decades. A couple Dems temporarily switched for political reasons. But right now, our three county commissioners are all Democrats; one ran as a Republican, and b/c he is Irish, enough Republicans were fool enough to nominate him.
How does a small city get hundreds of millions of dollars in debt without rampant corruption? It doesn’t. Bob
God I hope you never have a fire and need those firemen. I can’t believe people on here. The fire and police are worth more than 3 bucks you jerk.
I got blasted in freepmail over wanting to pay the fire and police dept. We have areas in CA (and I'm sure other parts of the country) where the fired dept gets SHOT at while trying to do their jobs.
Those services are always threatened or cut first because the general public knows they need them. Result: a lot of screaming and a raise in taxes. Our taxes.
over 70% of all firemen are volunteers, the rest are unionized extortionists.
As for MOST they are fine. Had it not been for their excessive union dem,ands and benefitst the ity might be able to pay them a reasonable wage.
Go pound salt. jag off!
For YEARS, when a city employee was going to retire up there, said City employee called the insurance broker said “I’m retiring next week.” Broker would automatically put him on permanent disability for the best breakdown of money paid out.As recently as 14 years ago, there more permanent disabilities employees than there were regular retirement employees.