Meeting to consider SB 1147

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

May 24, 2022 | 10 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 1147

Schedule

SB 1147 (Robinson) – Amends the Public Works Employment Verification Act to increase penalties and length of debarment for violations and provides additional revenue to the Department of General Services for enforcement.

    • A04190 (Robinson) – Limits the maximum debarment period to three years for willful violations and makes a technical correction.

Meeting to consider SB 569, SB 993 and HB 129

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Tuesday, February 7, 2022 | Off the Floor

Room 461, Main Capitol

Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 569, SB 993 and HB 129

Schedule

SB 569 (Argall) – Establishes procedures to be followed when state correctional officers and forensic employees are under investigation and requires that state correctional officers suspended pending investigation continue to receive pay and benefits unless a criminal proceeding has been instituted under the Governor’s Code of Conduct.

SB 993 (J. Ward) – Amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to eliminate requirements on agricultural employers and H-2A workers to pay unemployment compensation (UC) taxes.

HB 129 (Cox) – Amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to change the default method by which UC hearings are held from in-person hearings to videoconference and telephone hearings.

  • A03619 (Bartolotta) – Allows a party to a UC hearing to request an in-person hearing for any reason while still allowing other parties to participate by videoconference or telephone, unless the referee determines that all parties must participate in person to ensure a fair hearing.

 

Meeting to consider HB 1819, HB 1829, and HB 1837

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 | 10:30 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-B


Agenda

Meeting to consider HB 1819, HB 1829, and HB 1837

Schedule

  • HB 1819 (Labs) – Amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to clarify that a claimant may not take actions, such as skipping an interview, to discourage their reemployment.
  • HB 1829 (Ecker) – Amends the Child Labor Act by modernizing the work permit issuing process to eliminate the requirement that the minor appear in-person to sign the permit and be examined by the issuing officer. 
  • HB 1837 (Irvin) – Amends the Workers Compensation Act to allow a claimant to appear before a workers compensation judge and provide a sworn statement that they understand the terms of a compromise and release agreement.

Panel Advances Three Bills, Including Proposals Addressing Non-Compete Provisions in Broadcast Contracts and Compensation Claims for a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), today advanced three bills including proposals addressing non-compete provisions in broadcast contracts and compensation claims for a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI).

“Today’s meeting was a productive one as we supported bills to help workers by allowing them portability with their careers, providing care for the devastating effects of extreme stress and improving the workforce development system,” Bartolotta said.

Senate Bill 320, sponsored by Senator Bartolotta, would prohibit non-compete provisions in contracts of broadcast employees when a separating event occurs. It would allow individuals to seek the best opportunities locally, rather than being forced out of their geographic area to further their career. The legislation would not alter the agreed to, contractual requirements between employers and broadcast employees while the contract is in effect.

Senate Bill 775, also sponsored by Senator Bartolotta, would clarify the requirements under the Workers Compensation Act for a first responder to establish a post-traumatic stress injury sustained in the course of their employment. It provides reasonable standards for police, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel to receive the treatment they need and deserve.

House Bill 723, sponsored by Representative Lori Mizgorski (R-30), would amend the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Act to bring it into compliance with federal law as provided for in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA seeks to improve the workforce development system through innovation and alignment of employment, training and education. An amendment was adopted to require the Department of Labor and Industry to collect and disseminate forward-facing employment data to other state agencies and postsecondary education institutions to ensure Pennsylvanians are being trained for the jobs of the future.

All bills now move to the full Senate for consideration. 

CONTACT: Eric Kratz, 717-787-1463

Meeting to consider SB 320, SB 634, SB 775 and HB 723

Senate Labor and Industry Committee

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

Main Capitol, Room 461


Meeting to consider SB 320, SB 634, SB 775 and HB 723

AGENDA

SB 320 (Bartolotta) – Establishes the Broadcast Freemarket Agreement Act, prohibiting non-compete agreements in broadcast contracts to the extent the non-compete restricts movement to a new employer or movement within a geographic area.

SB 634 (Laughlin) – Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to require municipalities using third party agencies for enforcement to utilize at least two third party agencies.

SB 775 (Bartolotta) – Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to clarify the requirements for a first responder to establish a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) workers’ compensation claim.

HB 723 (Mizgorski) – Amends the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Act to bring it into compliance with federal law as provided for in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

*A02313 (potential)

Senate Hearing Highlights Important Role of Adult Education in Workforce Development

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Scott Martin (R-13), today discussed the importance of adult education for workforce development at a joint public hearing.

During the hearing, the committees heard many success stories of Pennsylvanians who were able to achieve their professional dreams and begin earning family-sustaining wages despite previously struggling.

One barrier to success – as noted in testimony submitted by Sheila Ireland, deputy secretary for workforce development for the Department of Labor and Industry – is a low level of literacy. “We know that eradicating illiteracy would yield huge economic benefits. If all U.S. adults were able to move up to at least the minimum proficiency level for literacy, it would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country, equal to 10% of the gross domestic product.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 130 million U.S. adults aged 16-74 years old lack proficiency in literacy.

Increased literacy is strongly tied to increased compensation. For every 400,000 adults who earn a high school diploma, we gain $2.5 billion back in taxes and reduced expenses, according to testimony submitted by Marcus Hall, director of workforce development for Beyond Literacy.

In addition to improving literacy rates, workforce development programs also provide basic education skills in math to prepare students for career-specific coursework. For example, Literacy Pittsburgh teaches Math for the Trades in partnership with the Builders Guild of Pennsylvania’s pre-apprenticeship program.

The programs offer great training opportunities, but they must be packaged in a way that is accessible to adult learners.

“To obtain the knowledge required for those jobs, adults need education-to-career pathways that fit into the spaces of their lives, meet them where they are, allow them to leverage their experience to accelerate learning, and enable them to thrive – financially and otherwise,” Rebecca Watts, regional vice president in the northeast for Western Governors University, explained in her testimony.

“Adult education benefits the recipients who are able to transform their lives and truly put themselves in control of their destiny, as well as our local communities that are improved when resources for low-income residents are used at a lower rate,” Senator Bartolotta said. “Instead, after they receive training and begin to experience the American Dream, people begin to contribute financially for the benefit of others.”

As the Commonwealth struggles with critical staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly in the health care industry, adult education can be a key solution.

Tec Centro offers affordable classes, including multiple training programs for positions in the health care industry, to low-income students who are underemployed and unemployed. The programs allow students to gain self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty while filling in-demand positions that are critical for the benefit of Pennsylvania communities.

“I am proud of the incredible work Tec Centro has done for our Lancaster community, placing more than 1,400 individuals in permanent employment since 2014 while generating $27 million that was driven back into the local economy,” Senator Martin said. “Tec Centro is a remarkable example of what we hope to accomplish, and I commend them for their work.”

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education, Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, Peirce College and the Manchester-Bidwell Training Center also provided testimony.

Click here for more information from the hearing.

 

CONTACTEric Kratz (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Terry Trego (Sen. Martin’s office), 717-787-6535

Media Advisory – Senate Hearing on the Role of Adult Education in Workforce Development on September 22

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Scott Martin (R-13), will hold a joint public hearing on the role of adult education in workforce development on Wednesday, September 22 from 9-11 a.m. in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Main Capitol Complex and via Zoom.

The first portion of the hearing, focusing on the state perspective, will feature the following testifiers: Dr. Tanya Garcia, acting deputy secretary and commissioner for postsecondary and higher education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education; Amanda Harrison, chief of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education’s Division of Adult Education; and Sheila Ireland, deputy secretary for workforce development for the Department of Labor and Industry.

The second panel will cover adult education career pathways and feature the following testifiers from adult education providers: Cheryl Hiester, executive director for the Literacy Council of Lancaster and Lebanon; Carey Harris, chief executive officer for Literacy Pittsburgh; Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, president and chief executive officer for Peirce College; Carlos Graupera, chief executive officer for SACA and SACA Development; and Dr. Kim Rassau, executive director for Manchester-Bidwell Training Center. Adult education providers will be accompanied by employer partners and program graduates in offering testimony.

Watch live at PASenateGOP.com. 

CONTACTEric Kratz (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Terry Trego (Sen. Martin’s office), 717-787-6535

Joint public hearing on the importance of adult education as part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system

JOINT HEARING

Senate Education Committee AND Senate Labor & Industry Committee

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room #1


Joint public hearing on the importance of adult education as part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system

9 to 9:15 – Introductions

Senator Camera Bartolotta, Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Scott Martin, Chair, Education Committee
Senator Christine Tartaglione, Minority Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee 

9:15 to 9:45 – State Perspective

Dr. Tanya Garcia, Acting Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education – Testimony
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Amanda Harrison, Chief, Division of Adult Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Sheila Ireland, Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development – Testimony
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

9:45 to 11 – Adult Education Career Pathways

Provider 1

Cheryl Hiester, Executive Director – Testimony
The Literacy Council of Lancaster and Lebanon

Ernesto Matos, RN
Union Community Care

Jenni Black, Chief Quality and Compliance Officer
Union Community Care

Provider 2

Carey Harris, CEO – TestimonyAttachment
Literacy Pittsburgh

Jeff Nobers, Executive Director – Testimony
Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania

Dimero Dixon, Laboror (written testimony only) – Testimony
Southwest Aluminum and Glass

Provider 3

Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, President and CEO – Testimony
Peirce College

Tara Butler, Medical Coding Professional – Testimony
Penn Medicine

Provider 4

Carlos Graupera, CEO – Testimony
Spanish American Civic Association and SACA Development

Sue Martin, Senior Recruiter – Testimony
Penn Medicine

Provider 5

Dr. Kim Rassau, Executive Director
Manchester-Bidwell Training Center

Angelo Nardozi, Mechanical Test Lab Supervisor
US Steel

Lorraine Wasky, Chemical Lab Technician
SKC, Inc.

Additional Written Testimony:

Beyond Literacy – Testimony

Rebecca Watts – Testimony

Pittsburgh Tax Fraud Task Force Shares Ideas About Protecting Workers, Combatting Worker Misclassification

PITTSBURGH – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), heard testimony from the Pittsburgh Construction Industry Tax Fraud Task Force about the dangers of misclassifying workers in the construction industry and what can be done to combat the practice.

The construction industry is one of the largest employers in Pennsylvania. In fact, the metropolitan area of Pittsburgh alone is home to more than 54,000 construction workers.

Task force members Steve Mazza of the Pittsburgh Building Trades and chair of the task force and Joel Niecgorski of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters stated that the construction industry is “a well-known haven for companies who misclassify their workers, fail to withhold taxes, ignore laws aimed at ensuring safe job sites and capitalize on worker exploitation.”

By misclassifying employees as independent contractors, construction companies do not simply avoid paying employment taxes, but also overtime and workers compensation premiums.

Misclassified or off-the-book workers do not receive important benefits and protections like minimum wage, overtime pay, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, Social Security, family leave and health care.

According to the task force report, there is significant motivation to commit construction industry fraud as contractors who misclassify workers or use labor brokers have a 30% advantage on bidding work.

Companies also use unscrupulous subcontractors who operate without proper licenses, carry no or insufficient insurance and operate in the underground economy through labor brokers that pay workers off the books, in cash or by checks with no deductions.

To combat this serious problem, the task force made five recommendations to the mayor of Pittsburgh: further define key terms so the opportunity to misclassify workers is reduced; further define criteria for suspension or revocation of licenses and increase civil penalties for violators; evaluate and amend the Office of Management and Budget’s contracting process to include penalties for labor violations; strengthen regulations on use of public subsidies; build stronger relationships with municipal judges as any and all changes made to regulations must be communicated to them; and create protections for workers to report labor violations so they are not penalized for coming forward.

“Thanks to the insightful recommendations that the task force shared today, committee members will be better informed as they consider legislation to more thoroughly protect workers and taxpayers alike,” Bartolotta said. “Personally, I will continue to engage with stakeholders in the construction industry to ensure legitimate, law-abiding contractors and their employees are the ones doing construction work in Pennsylvania.” 

CONTACT: Eric Kratz, 717-787-1463