The Update: What’s Going On in Harrisburg and D.C. – Sept. 13, 2021


As Congress debates the best way to address our nation’s twin climate and economic crises, ReImagine Appalachia—a coalition of labor, policy experts, and community leaders—is laying out a plan for the future with calls for urgent climate action and good union jobs to create economic justice. Read below about our work with ReImagine Appalachia to push for these twin solutions.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Herzenberg
Executive Director

Coal country AFL-CIO presidents agree — federal climate action must create good union jobs

Four state AFL-CIO presidents signed on to an open letter calling for federal climate action and good union jobs. The opinion piece appeared in multiple sources across the region.

Read the op-ed on

ReImagine Appalachia Prints Open Letter to Sen. Manchin

On Sunday, September 12, ReImagine Appalachia ran an open letter to Senator Manchin. Keystone Research Center is part of the coalition of labor, policy experts, and community leaders working to ensure everyone who lives in Pennsylvania can have a good job and the ability to put down roots for the future. The letter asks Senator Manchin to support the infrastructure and budget packages together.

Read the full letter here.

Commemorating the Battle of Blair Mountain

Timed with the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, a pivotal labor struggle, KRC executive director Stephen Herzenberg participated in a ReImagine Appalachia digital panel on September 2 with Phil Smith, Director of Government Affairs, United Mine Workers of America (UWMA). The session highlighted the importance of unions, 100 years ago and today, and the pivotal importance of Congress passing the “Protect the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act, which passed the U.S. House in January. The session also saluted the courage of West Virginia coal miners and the UMWA in organizing across racial lines. The UMWA formed the first industrial union in America and played a pivotal role just 14 years after the Battle of Blair Mountain in the organization of mass manufacturing in the U.S. along industrial lines in the 1930s and 1940s. For more on the Battle of Blair Mountain, see the section on unions in The State of Working Pennsylvania 2021 and the section in The State of Working West Virginia.

On the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee Hearing on the 2020 Election

Rather than address the needs of Pennsylvania workers, small business people, and families still suffering from the effects of the pandemic, the Republican-led Pennsylvania Senate begins yet another round of hearings about the 2020 election today—an election that most Pennsylvanians believe was settled in January.

It is important to put this hearing in its proper context. We offer six observations.

Read more.

In the News

Report: Increasing Minimum Wage in PA and Beyond Would Help Rebuild Economy

Public News Service

With the expanded unemployment benefits from the American Rescue Plan ending last week, a new report from the Keystone Research Center shows that Pennsylvania and the federal government are at a crossroads and have a chance to implement policies that can build a stronger economy.

The report took a deeper look at the impact COVID-19 had on jobs and the economy over the last 18 months, which showed Pennsylvania had 360,000 fewer jobs in July 2021 than in Feb. 2020.

Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Center, said increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour could boost needed support for Pennsylvania workers.


Lamb, Wild, Evans and Kuster Introduce Legislation to Revitalize The Civilian Conservation Corps

Press Release

Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) was joined by Representatives Susan Wild (PA-7), Dwight Evans (PA-3) and Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) to introduce the Restore Environmental Vitality and Improve Volatile Economy by the Civilian Conservation Corps of 2021, or the REVIVE the CCC Act, which would revitalize the 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps into a modern-day employment, job training and conservation program. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The REVIVE the CCC Act would advance efforts to tackle the climate crisis while creating well-paying, quality conservation jobs that protect and restore waterways, working lands and the health and resiliency of our rural and urban communities.


Stephen Herzenberg Discusses the State of Working PA

Reality Check | WURD

Stephen Herzenberg, economist and executive director of Keystone Research Center joined Charles to discuss the Keystone Research Center’s annual State of Working PA report.

The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a non-partisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.

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