Around Town

Fiedler, Pisciottano ‘Right to Organize’ bill clears House Labor & Industry Committee

Legislation introduced by state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Nick Pisciottano, which would give Pennsylvania workers the right to organize, was reported out of the House Labor and Industry Committee.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Constitution does not guarantee workers the right to organize and collectively bargain. This legislation proposes to amend Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution to enshrine these rights for all workers in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the bill would prohibit any other laws that may interfere with or diminish collective bargaining rights.

Fiedler said that the passage of House Bill 950 is a step in the right direction for Pennsylvania workers.

“Workers fuel our economy. They are the mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles of our commonwealth,” Fiedler said. “Workers deserve to be treated with respect and that’s exactly the goal of this legislation. The Workers’ Rights Amendment will support workers in using their numbers to secure better pay, hours and working conditions.”

Fiedler and Pisciottano believe that workplace organizing should be a right, but said anti-union employers routinely threaten and scare workers in anti-union workplace seminars, bombard workers with anti-union literature and bring in consultants that use surveillance technology to sniff out the organizers and fire them.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, Pennsylvania workers who want to explore joining a union would be protected, and future laws that seek to silence workers and obstruct their attempts to make a better life for themselves and their families can be prevented.

H.B. 950 was voted out of committee 12-9 and will now move to the House floor for a future vote.

Waxman celebrates passage of The Fairness Act

State Rep. Ben Waxman celebrated the passage of The Fairness Act in the PA House of Representatives.

“It’s still legal in PA for LGBTQ+ people to be denied housing, education or access to public accommodations based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Waxman said. “Today, the House is extending the same protections outlined in the PA Human Relations Act to ensure no one is treated like a second-class citizen. It’s time to protect all Pennsylvanians and create a welcoming atmosphere for people from all walks of life.”

The PA Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age and other aspects of an individual’s identity. The Fairness Act would extend these protections to LGBTQ+ individuals and prevent anyone from discriminating against others based on their gender or sexual identity.

The landmark 2020 decision on Bostock v. Clayton County by the United States Supreme Court ruled that an employer cannot discriminate against an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill ensures that this historic victory is codified and extends to Pennsylvanians. If signed into law, PA would join 23 other states in the nation that “welcome and protect” LGBTQ+ people.

Ars Nova receives $10K grant

The Ars Nova Workshop received a $10,000 grant from the Presser Foundation.

Ars Nova, which moved into the former Boot & Saddle bar on Broad Street, receives the money as part of more $876,000 in capital support grants handed out by the Presser Foundation, including more than half a million this year.

The grants are designated for capital projects of music presenting, music performing and music education organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Capital projects typically include the construction of new facilities and the renovation or expansion of existing facilities. Building on previously expanded guidelines and with gained perspective on the needs of music organizations in Greater Philadelphia, the Foundation again considered applications for equipment, technology, hardware and software needs of organizations as they create innovative, uplifting and inspiring music programming.

Planet Fitness hosting Philabundance Food Drive

During the month of May, more than 30 Planet Fitness locations across Philadelphia will be open to the public to drop off food donations for Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief organization in the Delaware Valley.

If you are not a Planet Fitness member and drop off items, the location will offer a free day pass for anyone who wishes to get a workout in while doing good.

Register for Boscov’s sale

Boscov’s has opened registration for its Friends Helping Friends fundraiser. Merchandise will be 25 percent off, in-store only, on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Customers will receive a shopping pass after donating $5 to a participating nonprofit.

“Each year, over 3,000 nonprofit organizations participate in this event and raise over $2 million in donations,” said Jim Boscov, chairman and CEO. “It’s our most aggressive promotion of the year and we do it to encourage donations to the organizations so critical to the communities we serve.”

To learn more and to register, go to ••

Realtors endorse Domb

The Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors endorsed Democratic candidate Allan Domb to be the next mayor of Philadelphia.

“Allan Domb is clearly the best candidate with the leadership qualities our city needs right now in a mayor,” said GPAR president Roderick Walker. “I have seen his leadership in action and I know he is the candidate most qualified to address public safety, expand access to affordable housing and support business growth and opportunity. Realtors depend on public safety and economic growth, and Allan has the record and vision to deliver and improve our city. With Allan Domb as mayor, Philadelphians will have a true fighter in City Hall.”

Domb has more than 40 years of experience in the housing market. In City Council, he led efforts to pass protections to help homeowners stay in their homes by cracking down on predatory and deceitful schemes offering “low cash” for properties. To help protect homeowners, sustain neighborhoods and increase generational wealth, Domb passed a homeowner protection law that offers residents support and resources to safeguard their home equity. If elected, he will utilize city property ownership to expand access to affordable housing. ••

Former Mayor Green is for Domb

Former Mayor Bill Green endorsed Allan Domb to be Philadelphia’s 100th mayor.

“I know [Allan’s] got the ability, the brains, the tenacity. He’s beholden to none, accountable to all and with a distinguished public service record behind him – with the most detailed plans to fix this city,” Green said in a video. “He is the best candidate left in this race. I am for him. I don’t think it’s a close call.”

Green, 84, served from 1980-83.

“I am so pleased to receive Mayor Green’s endorsement today, because not only does he love Philadelphia like I do, but he knows what the job of being mayor is — and how tough it will be for the next mayor to fix our city because he led us through the worst we’ve ever seen,” Domb said. “Like the Green family, I am committed to Philadelphia, doing what is the right thing and putting our fiscal house in order so we can continue to invest in our people and the city’s future.” ••

Jane Fonda endorses McIllmurray

The Jane Fonda Climate PAC endorsed Democrat Amanda McIllmurray for City Council at large. The PAC previously endorsed Helen Gym for mayor.

“The fossil fuel industry and corporations that profit off of destroying our climate pour millions of dollars into our elections each year. While Americans are consistently voting with the climate in mind, our elected officials are not,” Fonda said. “That is why I am laser-focused on supporting candidates who will be climate champions in office, and why I’m incredibly excited to support Amanda McIllmurray for City Council at large. Like me, Amanda has been arrested fighting against the fossil fuel industry and for climate justice. And just like me, she knows that we must take immediate and decisive action to avert climate catastrophe at every level of government.” ••

Andy Kim endorses Gym

U.S. Rep. Andy Kim endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym.

“Helen Gym was one of the first people that I met when I started on my path in politics. She was encouraging and supportive of the need for good public servants to step up,” Kim said. “I support Helen because she embodies that sentiment that engagement matters, and she has inspired many people to roll up their sleeves. Helen represents a new generation of AAPI leaders that are focused on building coalitions and strengthening communities and I’m excited to see what more she can do for the people of Philadelphia.”

Gym has also been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congressmen Jamaal Bowman and Greg Casar, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, state Sen. Nikil Saval, Councilwomen Kendra Brooks and Jamie Gauthier, state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler, Tarik Khan and Rick Krajewski, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Sunrise Movement, Our Revolution, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Teamsters Local 623 (UPS and delivery workers), Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, United We Dream Action, AAAFund, AAPI Victory Fund, Sierra Club, Food and Water Action, Conservation Voters of PA, People’s Action, Grid Magazine, Amistad Movement Power, Straight Ahead, Free the Ballot, Philly Neighborhood Networks, United Academics of Philadelphia AFT Local 9608, Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Temple Association of University Professional, Temple University Graduate Students’ Association, 24th Ward Democrats, 18th Ward Democrats, First Ward Democrats, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats and Riverward Area Democrats. ••

Sanchez endorses women

Former mayoral candidate Maria Quinones Sanchez issued the following endorsements: City Council at large: Erika Almirón, Rue Landau, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Luz Colon; district council: Quetcy Lozada, Cindy Bass; election commissioner: Lisa Deeley; sheriff: Rochelle Bilal; Common Pleas Court: Damaris García, Samantha Williams, Chesley Lightsey, Kay Yu. Sanchez previously endorsed Cherelle Parker for mayor. ••

Sanchez supports Parker

Former mayoral candidate Maria Quinones Sanchez has endorsed Cherelle Parker in the Democratic primary, citing her experience as a state representative and district councilwoman.

“I have said for years that the 100th mayor of Philadelphia will be a woman. Today, I go one step further and say that the 100th mayor of Philadelphia should be Cherelle Parker. Cherelle has the lived experience that is essential to leading our city at this time. Philadelphians can see themselves in her,” Sanchez said. ••

AOC endorses Gym

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym.

“Helen isn’t afraid to take on tough fights or go up against big special interests. And when she does, she wins,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “She’s delivered real results for her constituents – making communities safer, housing more affordable and public schools stronger. I am proud to endorse her.” ••

Bernie endorses Gym

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym.

“Helen Gym is a fighter for working families,” Sanders said. “She has fought for strong public education, legislation to protect tenants’ rights and healthcare for all. I am proud to endorse her campaign for mayor of Philadelphia.”

In 2019, Gym and Sanders wrote a joint op-ed about the fight to keep Hahnemann Hospital, which served Philadelphia’s lowest-income and highest-need communities, open.

A former school teacher, she is running on a Green New Deal for Schools agenda that would modernize and renovate Philadelphia’s hazardous school facilities. ••

Fencing open house

The Bucks County Academy of Fencing, 1713 Bethlehem Pike in Hatfield, will hold an open house on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be demonstrations, prizes, food, drawings, giveaways and a replica historic sword display. Call 215-862-6112 or visit ••

Exhibitions at Academy of Natural Sciences

An exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 19th and the Parkway, celebrates the diversity of birds, their role in ecosystems and people’s relationships with them. Conversations With Birds spotlights familiar local birds, such as house sparrows and cardinals, and goes beyond to introduce the variety of migrators that pass through on journeys across the globe.

The exhibition features avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers. There will be hands-on activities that explain the body architecture that enables birds to do what they do.

Conversations With Birds is free with general museum admission and on view through Sunday, May 21.

Visit ••

Memorial Day ceremony

The public is invited to honor the fallen on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, at noon at the Charles J. Glenn III Memorial, at Marlborough and Wildey streets in Fishtown. The event will feature the Vietnam Veterans Society and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums. ••

Go see Mamma Mia!

The Star Players, of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, will present Mamma Mia! from June 2-4 at 7 p.m. at Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 7 Lock St. in Manayunk. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Group rates are available. Tickets are available at Holmesburg Recreation Center, 4500 Rhawn St., or on Venmo @TheStarplayers. For more information, contact director Bill Arthur at 215-685-8714 or ••

Trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum volunteers are sponsoring a 7-day, 6-night trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan from July 9-15. The trip consists of a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, two nights at the Grand Hotel, a horse-drawn carriage ride and visits to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the Henry Ford Museum and the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. The price includes bus transportation, hotels, six breakfasts, six dinners, a buffet luncheon at the Grand Hotel, admission to all attractions, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities. Call Theresa Romanowski at 215-813-2780 or 215-922-1700.

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that will sail Oct. 6-17, featuring 10 ports-of-call. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,198 to $7,998 per person, double occupancy. Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or ••