Philadelphia voters will get to decide in the June 2 primary election whether the city should create a Department of Labor.
Most other big U.S. cities already have permanent offices that handle this type of enforcement, said Janice Fine, a Rutgers University professor who studies local labor law enforcement.
Currently, the Mayor’s Office of Labor, created under the Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, handles most of these functions. But advocates fear that a future mayor with different priorities could scrap the office altogether. Creating a Department of Labor would give the office more staying power. It’s a symbolic move, too, as where a city allocates its resources suggests where its priorities lie.
Advocates have framed these laws and their enforcement as antipoverty measures in the poorest big city in the country.