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How city worker unions differ on vax mandates | Morning Newsletter

And, the wealth disparity in trees.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Hello, cultured readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: The head of the largest union in Philadelphia for city workers says the organization will not resist a potential vaccine mandate.

Then: A look at the history behind Philadelphia’s tree canopy, and how income plays a role in neighborhoods being disproportionately hotter than others.

And: The Dog Days of summer have hit the region, but for how long?

— Olayemi Falodun (

One of the largest unions in Philadelphia plans on being “supportive” with officials on a potential vaccine mandate for city employees.

Ernest Garrett, the head of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 33, says the conditional OK will also include advocating for religious and medical exemptions for any of its 9,500 municipal workers.

But do other union leaders in the city share Garrett’s viewpoint?

Sean Collins Walsh and Laura McCrystal provide insight into how unions in the city are looking at a possible vaccine mandate for city employees.

For Philadelphians, the challenge of finding shade among the trees amid the latest heat wave blanketing the region might just come down to economics.

For instance, the tree coverage in Chestnut Hill is 60%, a far greener neighborhood in trees and money compared with Kensington, where tree coverage is only 13%.

On a hot day in the city, the gap in temperatures between wealthy and poor neighborhoods can be 15 to 20 degrees due to tree cover.

Reporter Frank Kummer gets to the root of how income means more shade in wealthier neighborhoods, which in turn impacts Philly’s residents of color disproportionately.

Reopening resources

  1. If you lost your vaccine card, here’s what to do.

  2. Have your card in hand? Here’s what to do with it — and what not to do.

  3. Here’s what Philly experts are thinking about COVID-19 risk, while the delta variant’s outdoor transmission is still unclear.

  4. Track the latest data on COVID-19 cases in the region.

  5. Before you go out to eat, here’s a list of Philly restaurants requiring vaccination proof to dine in.

  6. Oh, and are you in need of a mask upgrade?

What you need to know today

  1. Find out how long a dangerous heat wave will blanket the Philadelphia area with humidity that will make it feel as if temperatures are above 100 degrees outside.

  2. Will Philly require businesses to check vaccination status or mandate masks indoors?

  3. Gov. Tom Wolf declares that state health care and congregate care employees of Pennsylvania must be vaccinated or agree to weekly testing.

  4. Check out some the different ways state officials alert residents about getting vaccinated.

  5. The list of school districts in the Delaware Valley region implementing mask mandates is getting longer.

  6. Center City District Restaurant Week returns this month, and it remains a bargain despite the price increase.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

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Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🤸🏿‍♀️ Decorated gymnast Simone Biles will give the keynote speech at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women this year.

🪕 The in-person component of the Philadelphia Folk Festival is canceled, but there’s still plenty to do.

🍅 Feast your eyes on these recipes for in-season tomato dishes.


“Those saying climate change isn’t dangerous are wrong — but so are those suggesting we’ve already lost the fight to save our planet,” argues Dr. Gaurab Basu, codirector at the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Health Equity Education & Advocacy, about the necessary response to the release of the UN’s grim climate change report.

  1. It’s time to give less attention to pundits in the United States and their outlooks when it comes to major issues, argues columnist Abraham Gutman.

  2. In a city marred by gun violence and an ongoing pandemic, Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large Katherine Gilmore Richardson suggests virtual care combined with school-based mental health services can help in treating students battling childhood trauma.

  3. Shari Wilson of Lehigh Valley Friends of CeaseFirePA expresses her uneasiness over House Bill 659, as Pennsylvania representatives mull the gun bill that would allow for concealed carry without a permit.

What we're reading

  1. A new “SimCity”-like desktop game by Drexel University game designers focuses on urban planning, while addressing gentrification and more, the PhillyVoice reports.

  2. Philadelphia Magazine takes a look at how we became the pretzel capitol of the United States.

  3. With the rise in COVID-19 mandates, Vice explores the growing business of fake vaccine cards.

  4. A labor historian explains what the death of Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, means for U.S. workers, during a Slate interview.

Your daily dose of | Photo of the day

There’s nothing like being (safely) sandwiched together with a close friend.