Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dear Mayor Nutter,

 As you know, we are a city in crisis. For the past few years, our schools and essential services have suffered as a result of budget shortfalls.

 We the undersigned believe that everyone needs to pay their fair share so that our city can resolve this crisis. Yet according to a recent PhillyPlan/Inquirer study, the nonprofits that own 10.8% of property in Philadelphia pay nothing in property taxes due to now-obsolete tax exemptions. Every year, tax exemptions cost our city $528 million in lost revenue.

That’s why we are calling on you today to make sure that large nonprofits pay their fair share, as required under Philadelphia tax law in light of the Pike County State Supreme Court decision.

This April, in its Pike County decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that all property-owning nonprofits must demonstrate that they qualify as charitable under the 5-prong HUP test in order to qualify for property tax exemption. Under the Philadelphia City Charter, that means that your administration is legally required to issue tax assessments to all property-holding nonprofits this December.

Many nonprofits will still qualify as charitable, and will simply need to take a few moments to file for property tax exemption under the new rules. We have no quarrel with property tax exemptions for houses of worship, or for important services like health clinics, emergency rooms, educational facilities, and other important properties used to serve the public good. But when nonprofits lease their property to for-profit corporations, let vacant land lie fallow, or run for-profit enterprises like parking garages and hotels, your administration not only should but is legally required to tax those properties at their most recently assessed value.

Mayor Nutter, we are calling on you not only to pledge to do what is right, but to pledge to do what is legally required of your office. We call on you to issue tax assessments to all nonprofits this December, regardless of past (now obsolete) exemptions.

We call on you to help us save this city.




Gwen Snyder, Executive Director, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice

Bishop Dwayne Royster, Living Water United Church of Christ

Reverend Jesse Brown, Lutheran Church

Philadelphia Teacher Action Group

Pete Matthews, President, AFSCME District Council 33

Cathy Scott, President, AFSCME Disctrict Council 47

Kahim Boles, President, AFSCME Local 2187

Louise Carpino, President, AFSCME Local 590

Paul Dannenfelser, President, AFSCME Local 1723

John Braxton, President, Faculty Federation of CCP (AFT)

Art Hochner, President, TAUP (AFT)

Bill Gault, IAFF Local 22

Louise Carpino, President, AFSCME Local 810

Kathy Black, President, Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women

Fabricio Rodriguez, Executive Director, Restaurant Opportunities Center

John Dodds, Philadelphia Unemployment Project

posted by gwen at 11:36am
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Union Deplores Mayor’s Unilateral Pay and Benefit Cuts


AFSCME District Council 47 deplores the Mayor’s cuts in wages and benefits for non-represented City employees.


“What the Mayor is imposing, like a thief in the night, and solely at his whim, is a pay and benefit cut for the vast majority of city employees,” stated AFSCME District Council 47 President Cathy Scott.  “For some it is a massive pay cut.


“It is not something we would negotiate.  It is not something we would accept.


“Shame on the Mayor for doing this to 5 ,000 hard working employees who have already gone four years without a pay increase.


“His statement today that this ‘Package links raises and benefit reforms” is neither a raise nor a reform.


“It is a pay cut, pure and simple” added Scott


She explained that the 2.5 percent salary increase is greatly offset by the lost pay and benefits included in the package.


The Mayor’s imposition of the ability to furlough workers for 15 days amounts to a 6 percent pay CUT.


The demand that employees contribute a new 1.5 percent of pay in pension contributions is a 1.5 percent pay CUT.


Greatly increased out-of-pocket medical payments of up to $1,200/annually are a $1,200 pay CUT.


“Changes in overtime is a pay CUT and may lead to reduced services to at-risk children.


“The attempted unilateral increased payments and reduced benefits for pension benefits for some employees is of questionable legality under Pennsylvania law and will not stand,” Scott said.


“We will explore and employ every legal avenue to ensure that members of AFSCME Local 2186 are protected against this pension benefit grab by Nutter.


“This whole ‘package’ is a deceit.  And, it proves that the Nutter Inaugural promise of fair payments and contracts for City employees was a fraud.


“You can’t claim to help employees by putting $2.50 in the worker’s right pocket while stealing $10.00 from their left pocket.


“The Mayor should be embarrassed that this deceit and the harm he and he alone, so proudly imposes on his loyal employees will be his legacy.


“There’s nothing in this package that any worker anywhere in America would wish for,” concluded Scott.

posted by gwen at 7:17pm | tags: public sector, Nutter
Monday, September 24, 2012

If you live in Philly, you've probably noticed a pattern in the way that our mayor talks about money. Every budget cycle, he tells us soberly that as much as he would like to fund everything. there just isn't enough money. We need to make cuts. Some years it's to our libraries and pools. Some years it's our schools.

He tells us that the cuts are our only option.

They aren't.

What if I told you that there were at least 107 million dollars in institutional property taxes that Mayor Nutter is legally obligated to tax--and isn't? Bear with me--this is a little detailed, but it's important:

This April, the State Supreme Court decided that all property-holding nonprofits need to meet a stringent set of criteria--the HUP test--in order to qualify for property tax exemption.

Now, we're not saying that every nonprofit should pay property taxes. But when a university like Penn buys a hotel and runs it for profit, or a hospital lets land lie vacant and undeveloped--then, Mayor Nutter is legally obligated to collect property taxes.

Under this Supreme Court ruling, the Nutter administration is legally required to issue tax bills to all property-holding nonprofits this December. It's on the nonprofit to take a few minutes and re-file for tax exemption under the HUP test criteria.

Last year, $528 million in property taxes went uncollected due to exemptions. The budgetary shortfall that threatened to destroy our schools was $90 million.

So what is Nutter's administration planning to do? Apparently, wait for nonprofits like Penn to come to them. When asked by WHYY, senior administration tax attorney Christine Bak stated, "I would hope very much some of those would contact us and want to get into some kind of tax contribution agreement again."

Call 215-686-2181 today, and demand that Mayor Nutter obey the law and issue tax bills to all property-holding nonprofits this December. He needs to hold big institutions like Penn and Jefferson accountable to the same rules he holds working people to.

posted by gwen at 3:03pm
Monday, August 20, 2012


a straight tapering root growing vertically downward and forming the center from which subsidiary rootlets spring.

"Radical simply means 'grasping things at the root.'"- Angela Davis

At Jobs with Justice, we believe that all successful social justice organizing and personal development must spring from our values--our roots. The Taproot Training focuses on the importance of forming relationships based our root values, and provides a broad array of strategies to move together in relationship and create change.

We are now accepting applications to the training. To find more information, and to apply, please visit our Taproot Training information page.

posted by gwen at 4:39pm
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We'll be joining ROC and Fight for Philly today at 4:00 pm, marching from the Liberty Bell to the Gallery Mall as a part of today's National Day of Action around the minimum wage. Here's a great explanation why, from our friends at AFSCME: 

 Says AFSCME: 

"It’s time for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. The last time they did, in 2009, it rose to $7.25 an hour. That’s just $15,080 a year for someone employed full time – hardly enough to support a family of four.

In fact, it’s $7,000 less than the federal poverty line for such a family. [...] Meanwhile, CEO pay has risen 725 percent over the last 30 years and 80 percent of all real income growth has gone to the richest 1 percent of Americans. The gap between the 1 percent and the 99% has never been higher. [...]

We call on Congress to support the Rebuild America Act introduced this year by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA). “A higher minimum wage is the simplest thing we can do to help struggling families become self-sufficient and join the middle class,” the bill states.

We here at Philly Jobs with Justice say, amen. | The Minimum Wage is Outdated

posted by gwen at 7:45pm
Monday, July 23, 2012

Corning, Inc. made three billion dollars in profit, paid nothing, then received a refund from the US Government.

Their response?

They sent a lobbyist to Congress to complain that the company was paying too much in taxes.

Corporation That Paid Nothing In Taxes For Four Years Tells Congress It Pays Too Much In Taxes (via alternet) 

posted by gwen at 4:52pm
Friday, July 20, 2012

Dear JwJers,

As a longtime supporter of and believer in the work of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, I'm excited to host and announce the date and location of this year's annual Philly Jobs with Justice Sustainer Soiree:

Saturday, September 8, 7 pm
The Drake (1512 Spruce Street, Philadelphia)

$50 suggested onetime donation / free for sustainers

We hold our sustainer soiree in celebration of individual sustaining sponsors, whose monthly giving helps allow Jobs with Justice to do the important work of organizing for economic justice. Join us for light fare, an open bar, and live music.

I'm a monthly sustainer for Jobs with Justice. Are you?

Join the monthly giving movement, and attend the soiree free!

In solidarity,
Gary Kapanowski

posted by gwen at 8:31pm
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Protest at the School Reform Commission, Philadelphia School District headquarters, 440 N. Broad St 4:00 pm.

  Join the Philadelphia School District's unions and community partners in the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools for a rally at School District Headquarters as the SRC votes on next year's budget.  Let's stop the SRC's bare-bones budget and five-year plan to close, charter, and privatize schools and to outsource jobs.  Please note that the rally will start at 4:00, 30 minutes earlier than originally planned.

posted by gwen at 12:50pm
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unionbusting at Target:

Store management prevented workers from wearing pro-union buttons, threatened union supporters with firing, and said the store would close if workers voted for a union. In fact, the Long Island store in question is currently closed for renovation, a closure that Target claims had been long-planned and isn't related to the union effort, but which is the first time a Target has closed for renovation in several years.

Daily Kos: Judge orders new union election at Target store, citing illegal intimidation

posted by gwen at 5:00pm
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tomorrow night is our Solidarity Awards Reception, and I hope you'll join us then.

 In the meantime, however, I want to call on you to join us in putting our belief in solidarity into action around one of the most urgent crises our working communities face right now.

 Our schools are under attack. Under Tom Knudsen, the School District of Philadelphia is threatening to:

  • Close 64 public schools;
  • Force 40% of students into private charters;
  • Turn all our schools over to outside operators;
  • Lay off twenty-seven hundred education workers unionized by SEIU 32BJ.

We can't stand for this. We ask you to join us tonight at Bright Hope Baptist Church at 6:30 (12th and Cecil B. Moore Ave.) for an emergency education community meeting hosted by our allies at Action United. Chief Recovery Officer Tom Knudsen and Mayor Michael Nutter have both been invited.

Tomorrow, we stand with 32BJ members and working families, fighting for the jobs of 2,700 bus drivers, janitors, bus attendants, engineers, and maintenance workers. These critical education workers have already received layoff notices from the School District, and we will be rallying with them in solidarity starting at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at MSB Plaza (15th & JFK), then joining them in marching at noon sharp.

 Let's stand up for our children.

 Let's stand in solidarity with the workers who serve our schools.

 Let's stand up for education.




posted by gwen at 5:00pm