Pittsburgh City Council

Providing Paid Sick Leave For Pittsburgh Workers

Aug 5, 2015
Daniel X. O'Neil / flickr

  Earlier this week, Pittsburgh City Council received a standing ovation from activists and workers when it gave final approval to a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick days to workers. The  Paid Sick Days Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked. But not everyone is applauding. The Allegheny Institute calls the ordinance anti-free market and anti-business. We'll discuss the pro and cons of paid sick leave with Allegheny Institute President Jake Haulk and Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday received a standing ovation from activists and workers after it gave final approval to a bill that will require employers to provide paid sick days to workers.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council got an earful at a public hearing Thursday on paid sick days legislation. The measure was put on hold by council last week to allow for amendments and a public hearing. 

The most visible attendees were pro-sick days legislation, though several came to represent the other side.

Pittsburgh officers rolling past loud parties and unauthorized construction will be able to cite residents' complaints as part of a new three-strike system with the city's disruption ordinance.

In a preliminary vote, Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous approval Wednesday to legislation aiming to better regulate the city’s noise control that replaces old language and better defines residential noise violations as any “sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman proposed a resolution Tuesday that would create a data sharing system between the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to assist authorities in tracking down stolen or wanted vehicles.

“Right now our ticket enforcement officers could walk down the street, enter a license plate at a meter, write a parking ticket, and that car could either be stolen or wanted as part of an Amber Alert and they would have no idea,” he said.

Pittsburgh City Council voted on Wednesday to hold the Paid Sick Days Act for one week so the bill can be amended and council can hold a public hearing July 30.

Councilman Corey O’Connor of Squirrel Hill agreed to amend his own bill. In it's original form, the bill required businesses with 15 or more employees allow workers to accrue up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year, and those with less than 15 employees up to 40 hours of leave. An employee would have to work 30 hours to earn one hour of sick leave.

City Council is slated on Wednesday to consider Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak's plain language resolution, which aims to do away with forms and other documents filled with legalese that may be hard for some people to understand.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“This is Pittsburgh. We want French fries on our sandwiches, not (the flu),” Councilman Corey O’Connor told a group of supporters shortly before introducing legislation that would mandate paid sick days for all workers in the city.

Courtesy Jennifer England / Pink Coat Communications

Workers in Pennsylvania’s largest city now have the right to earn and use sick days without retaliation, thanks to a bill passed by Philadelphia City Council in February.

But for the state’s second biggest city, it might not be so straightforward.

A bill in the state House Labor and Industry Committee would prohibit municipal governments from mandating that businesses offer sick leave to employees.

City Council members gave preliminary approval to updated cooperative police services agreement between city officers and University of Pittsburgh Police.

“Departments that overlap have to have agreements in place so they can share information and act in their partner’s jurisdictions,” said Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar. “The University of Pittsburgh sits in the city and quite often there are issues where our police officers are responding to an incident in the city but within the campus.”

Pittsburgh City Council approved an agreement with the city and Department of Public Safety aimed at mentoring parents of young children. “Promised Beginnings” is part of the larger Safer Together Pittsburgh initiative to improve public safety.

“It helps facilitate existing resources that are already out there by the county or private providers, bringing those resources together (and) targeting the parents of preschool children,” said Public Safety Director Stephan Bucar.

Flickr user woodleywonderworks

A week after Governor Tom Wolf stopped at a Harrisburg prison to promote his plan to increase early education funding, Pittsburgh City Council will consider the link between public safety and preschool.

A bill approving the Department of Public Safety’s “Promised Beginnings” initiative is scheduled to come up for discussion in Council’s committee meeting Wednesday.

With no Republicans on the ballot, all five Democratic incumbents should keep their City Council seats another four years.

District 1 Councilwoman Darlene Harris, 62, of Spring Hill beat out challengers Bobby Wilson, 32, of Spring Hill and Randy Zotter, 65, of Central North Side. Harris received nearly 47 percent of the vote, while Wilson received about 33 percent.

Harris said her campaign was successful because she's in-touch with the neighborhoods she represents.

Joining us in studio are Pittsburgh City Council members Deb Gross and Corey O’Connor. They are co-sponsoring a green infrastructure legislative package. If adapted the legislation would establish special green zones in key areas of the city. We’ll discover how they’ll work and the impact they could have on Pittsburgh.

O'Connor explains their efforts for more sustainable development:

"We want to enforce more green infrastructure so that when we get more water run off we can hold that water. We don’t need pipes as much as we needed 10 and 15 years ago. We’re starting to think more sustainable development." -Corey O'Connor  

Also in the program, we'll celebrate the 100th year of operations at Pyrex's Charleroi plant, and Nick Drombosky addresses the mechanic's responsibility in making commuting by bike accessible to everyone.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s been nearly six months since Pittsburgh City Council introduced a bill that would require all rental property owners to register with and pay a fee to the city. A public hearing on the matter was held in early December, but the bill has continuously been held by council and has yet to come up for even a preliminary vote.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman introduced a bill Tuesday that he said will save the city between $10,000 and $20,000 a year. He said that’s how much it costs to print and mail residential parking permit stickers and renewal notices.

The legislation would call on the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to provide residents the option to renew parking permits online and do away with the sticker system, instead relying on license plate recognition technology.

Antoinette Palmieri / Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority

More than four years after the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water line service protection program was scrapped, Pittsburgh City Council took the first step last week to create a new program.

This time, said Councilman Dan Gilman, homeowners will have to actively opt-in to the program, rather than opting out.

Pittsburgh’s South Side often gets a bad reputation as merely a drinking destination for rowdy college kids, but residents say the historic neighborhood’s more wholesome aspects often get overlooked.

That’s according to a presentation made to City Council Tuesday afternoon by students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Urban Studies program.

Pittsburgh City Council will take a final vote Tuesday to approve a $500,000 state grant to renovate Knoxville Library.

The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Award would help cover the costs of adding a second public meeting space and a new teen area to the library, as well as structural updates to comply with ADA accessibility mandates.

According to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Assistant Director of Neighborhood Libraries Mary Monaghan, the Knoxville branch was built in the 1960s and hasn’t been renovated since.

Flickr user Mary Helen Cochran Library

The Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections has a nice little chunk of change—a bit more than $300,000—set aside for storage of records.

But the catch is the work must be done on microfilm.

The Microfilm Permit Plans Trust Fund was set up in 1986 with strict parameters about how the money could be spent, and nearly thirty years later, the city has finally decided it’s time to broaden those parameters.

Flickr user Brice Hutchinson

In the past, Pittsburgh residents have had a voice in the capital budgeting process, through a series of public hearings usually held in October and November.

The problem with that model, according to Budget Director Sam Ashbaugh, is that the budget is already drafted and has been presented to City Council and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority by that point.

Liz Reid

A bill that would change the rules governing Pittsburgh’s youth commission sparked an intense discussion in City Council Wednesday, with some members of Council expressing concern about whose voices are being heard, and whose are not.

Pittsburgh City Council is planning a public hearing before they give the final stamp of approval to proposed tax abatements and exemptions for developers of the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who has been instrumental in developing a plan for revitalization of the area, said developers will still be paying property taxes on the value of the land and related improvements.

Flickr user ereyesleblanc

Rumors that the Beechview and Bloomfield farmers markets might be on the chopping block spurred a spirited discussion about food equity and market management in Pittsburgh City Council Wednesday morning.

Photo courtesy City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks & Recreation

According to Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman, figuring out how much it costs to rent a trash container or hire an off-duty police officer is more difficult than it needs to be.

Gilman on Tuesday proposed a bill that would create a schedule of fees for the use of such city-owned property and services. He said currently, fees are scattered throughout city code and various city websites, rather than existing all in one place.

Flickr user Joseph A

Pittsburgh homeowners who are scrambling to meet a Feb. 10 deadline for early payment of taxes, which entitles them to a 2 percent discount, can breathe easy.

City Councilman Dan Gilman on Tuesday introduced legislation to extend that deadline to Feb. 28.

He said many taxpayers did not receive their bills until Jan. 31, while others have not received them at all yet.

Flickr user Joseph Novak

Redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s lower Hill District is one step closer to becoming a reality, with City Council on Wednesday giving preliminary approval to a bill designating the area as a Specially Planned District or SPD.

“It took a while to get here … and now we’ve got to actually begin building,” said Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District.

Pittsburgh’s city code requires that sidewalks are made out of concrete, but Councilwoman Deborah Gross is questioning whether that’s the best option.

During a post-agenda meeting Thursday, Gross heard from various organizations saying there are better alternatives to concrete, which often times is lifted or cracked from trees and their roots.

Gross said solving this problem could help with Pittsburgh’s issues managing water, which includes flooding and water pollution.

Pittsburgh City Council again delayed action on a bill Wednesday that would create a rental property registry.

“We did hold the bill for two more weeks while we continue to collaborate and work through some of the issues of the bill,” City Council President Bruce Kraus said.

As it stands, the bill requires landlords to submit all available forms of contact information, allowing the city to keep a close eye on problem properties. Owners could face a $500 penalty if they fail to submit their name, address, phone number and email address.

Legislation that would give city of Pittsburgh employees six weeks of full paid family leave was submitted in City Council Tuesday.

It would amend the current rules that allow leave, but must be unpaid if all vacation and sick time has been used. The current policy adheres to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak submitted the bill and said it applies to everyone, “regardless of their marital status, or their gender and it also allows employees who have children, who are adopting children, or who are fostering children to take advantage of this.”

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