ANOTHER OPINION: Covering Up Unemployment In Pennsylvania

Filed under: Labor,Opinion,Subject Categories |



BY FRANK A. SIRIANNI/ Lately we have all been reading that Gov. Tom Corbett is taking credit for the alleged “relatively low” unemployment rate here in Pennsylvania. As he runs for reelection, he says it is one of the lowest unemployment rates in the USA!

The percentage of unemployed Pennsylvania workers, according to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor & Industry, is claimed to be right around 6%, depending on where you live. That is the lowest since before 2008 and the Great Recession.

Well, as everyone knows, you can get any number you want from the Dept. of Labor, especially if you are running for reelection as Governor of an administration with a failed economic policy. All you have to do is call the Secretary of Labor that you appointed and tell her to do it.

The fact of the matter is the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is significantly higher than what is reported to the media by the Department that works for the Governor/candidate trying to get reelected.

That way, the candidate doesn’t become part of the bogus unemployment statistics that his pay-to-play appointees are reporting. To understand the real numbers, you have to add a few people who were conveniently, or possibly intentionally, overlooked.

First, you have to add back into the numbers the 44,000 workers who were made ineligible to qualify for Unemployment Insurance by Gov. Corbett’s Act 60, even though they and their employers faithfully paid their premiums into the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

That alone should be considered a crime! Can you imagine what would happen if you paid into a life-insurance policy yet your family couldn’t collect the benefit when you passed away? Well, 44,000 working citizens here in Pennsylvania, and their employers, are getting just that result. They pay in and they cannot collect; and the number will double, every single year, over the next decade, while out-of-state Marcellus Shale workers take home our unemployment funds.

Second, another number that was conveniently overlooked and not considered in Corbett’s announced bogus unemployment rate, are the roughly 100,000 people who had their Unemployment Insurance terminated by their government just before Christmas 2013.

The sad thing about this whole situation is: While we have a Governor who has lived off the taxpayers most of his entire adult life, right down to the taxpayer-funded SUV, to every steak and bottle of wine he and his family eats and drinks, yet he has the gall to now portray himself as a man of compassion!

So I want to give the Governor the credit he deserves. Way to go, Tom! You have successfully removed the food from the tables of over 150,000 working families in Pennsylvania.

Sirianni is President of the Pennsylvania State Building Trades Council.

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