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Hagan bill seeks to ID scope of low-pay workers

Published: Fri, November 29, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Another bill seeks triple time for those working Thanksgiving

By Jim Siegel

Columbus Dispatch


As holiday shoppers rush the stores, some Democratic lawmakers want to shine a light on how many retail and food-service workers get public assistance despite their employment.

They also want to force employers to pay workers triple time when asking them to work on Thanksgiving, as more retailers open their doors on the holiday.

Rep. Robert F. Hagan isn’t usually successful with his legislation, especially in the GOP-controlled Legislature, but the Youngstown Democrat is persistent. For the sixth time, he has introduced a bill that would require the state to publish an annual report listing how many people working for the state’s top 50 employers receive Medicaid, welfare or food stamps.

The bill would “shine a spotlight on how corporate citizens prop up employee benefits at taxpayer expense,” Hagan said.

A state report this spring found that the number of workers on Medicaid at the state’s 50 biggest employers increased 27 percent since 2007. Wal-Mart had nearly 18,000 employees on Medicaid, followed by 14,000 at McDonald’s. Kroger, Wendy’s and Bob Evans had a combined 17,421 workers on Medicaid.

“People need to know where their tax dollars are going,” Hagan said. “The egregious lack of corporate responsibility to treat workers fairly is compounded by the fact that many of these companies receive taxpayer-funded subsidies in this state.”

Wal-Mart officials noted that its average Ohio employee makes $12.69 an hour, and more than half work full time.

That full-time pay rate would put a family of three at 135 percent of the federal poverty level.

Hagan and Rep. Mike Foley, D-Cleveland, also pointed to recent media reports about employees of a Walmart store in Canton who were having a food drive to help workers there enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

“We want full awareness of the benefits we’re giving to some of the wealthiest and richest corporations and families in our society,” Foley said.

Hagan’s most-recent attempt to create the public-assistance list, introduced in 2011, died after one hearing. It also didn’t pass when Democrats controlled the Ohio House in 2010 — it got out of committee but died when it failed to get 50 votes on the House floor.

In the past, GOP critics have said the proposal demonizes businesses that often employ part-time workers in entry-level jobs.

“Retail jobs, by design, are not meant to be long-term jobs,” said Gordon Gough, president of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “They are jobs meant to subsidize income or get you by to your next job.”

Lamenting the “current brand of capitalism” in the country where income inequality has continued to grow, Foley said he will introduce a bill requiring companies to pay triple wages to those who work on Thanksgiving.

Since he first mentioned the idea, Foley said, he has been hearing from a number of people who say they are unable to spend time with their families “while their employers are making huge profits.”


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 10 months, 4 weeks ago

But Bobby, thought that you and your liberal-socialist pals want as many people as possible on the government dole with Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment extensions, and disability assistance. Now that you've created these financial monsters, you want to gouge employers giving part-time people an opportunity to be gainfully employed while still meeting their personal situations.

Can't have it both ways, Bobby. You and your liberal brothers and sisters have created the government dependency system based on the hypocritical message that you "care", when all that you care about is pandering for votes from your union cronies and those that you have bought with government programs designed to create a culture of dependency on political losers like yourself. Don't blame private employers that take advantage of government programs to subsidize their part-time employees that you and your elitist brethren have created and still promote today.

BTW, the article comment "Rep. Robert F. Hagan isn’t usually successful with his legislation....." says it all about how others beyond your Youngstown fishbowl view your ineffectiveness as a legislator and your pandering to the underinformed for votes. Truly one of the most pathetic politicians in valley politics since Jimbo Traficant without the personality.

Good luck with the senatorial campaign with that record of radicalism and lack of accomplishment. Since you can't run on your own record of legislative ineffectiveness, I suppose that you will resort to that time-honored, worn out, liberal campaign tradition of attacking the opposition with lies, half-truths, and innuendo, and disparaging comments about the lack of caring for Ohio citizens by your opponent for big business interests that create jobs, not destroy them by eliminating part-time positions assisted by government assistance programs that you and your ilk have supported and promoted.

Hopefully, your fellow Ohio Democrats will see through your incompetence and wipe you out in the Democratic primary in 2014. Then after the slaughter, you can demonstrate you political power by throwing the support of your tens of followers behind a viable candidate, go back to running your choo-choo trains, get into some drunken bar brawls, and suck off the YSU and state representative salaries of your wife in perpetuity.

Maybe you can pass your idle time building an altar to pay homage to your eternal highway sign on 711. Kind of like Youngstown's version of JFK's eternal flame.

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2YtownParent(331 comments)posted 10 months, 4 weeks ago

In addition to how much money is spent on public assistance for employees at these companies, any report should also include the dollar amount of tax breaks the companies are getting for hiring employees that are receiving assistance.

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