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The most powerful leader you’ve never heard of | Morning Newsletter

And, a change of heart for the vax hesistant.

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Good morning.

We spoke with a background operator who may be one of the most powerful people in Philadelphia — but most likely you’ve never heard of him.

It looks as if those mandates from businesses are getting people who resisted the vaccine to roll up their sleeves now.

OK, let’s get into it.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman,

Labor leader Ryan Boyer has ascended to a unique position of power, even if many people in Philly don’t know his name.

And he’s not trying to get people to know it, either. The labor leader says he stays busy working to make what happened to his family — when a union job helped to carve a path from his background in the projects to the middle class — accessible for more Philadelphians of color.

“Everything I’ve got is because of organized labor,” as he puts it. And he’s poised to have an outsized impact with his position now, leading the Laborers District Council, a union with more than 6,000 members from locals across the Philadelphia region. In fact, potential candidates in the 2023 mayor’s race are already courting him.

Read reporter Chris Brennan’s article to get to know him.

Pushed by fear of losing their jobs, not being able to travel or dine out — and also worried about the delta variant — more vaccine-hesitant Philadelphians are lining up to get their shots.

Restaurants, cruise lines, colleges, and a growing number of employers — hospitals, municipal governments, Amtrak, Citigroup — are telling workers and customers that they have to be vaccinated or have a good reason why they cannot be. Health officials report an uptick in shots in arms in our region, and yesterday’s announcement that the FDA has fully authorized the Pfizer vaccine is expected to lead to even more vaccination mandates and a higher immunization rate. But even some vaccine advocates are not entirely happy about the mandates.

Reporters Jason Laughlin and Marie McCullough’s article on the latest.

Reopening resources

  1. Some people are changing their minds about the coronavirus vaccine. Here’s how doctors persuade them.

  2. These are the Philadelphia restaurants that require proof of vaccination.

  3. Should you laminate your vaccination card? What if you lose it? Here are the dos and don’ts.

What you need to know today

  1. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. What does that mean for the pandemic?

  2. Aqua Pa. wants a 17.9% boost in water rates and 33% in sewer rates in the Philly suburbs. The average water bill alone could become almost $1,000 a year.

  3. The Kimmel Center will require vaccine cards and mandatory mask wearing for patrons.

  4. And vaccines are required for all New Jersey teachers, Gov. Phil Murphy says. “We’re not going to sacrifice the health of our kids and staff,” he said.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Thank you for the fun slice of history on Walnut Street.

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

🎹 The Wilco and Sleater-Kinney’s “It’s Time” tour that’s finally happening at Mann is one for the books, and leave it to a non-headliner to steal the whole show.

🍲 Major food scene players are hoping to open a new restaurant in the former Will BYOB kitchen — casual.

🦅 This is a time for the Eagles to play it safe, Mike Sielski muses.

🥫 Sharonda Harris-Bunton is bringing the locally owned vegan restaurant “with a touch of soul” to Atlantic City’s the Walk.

🏘️ Seniors in Philly are aging in place with the help of community “villages.”


“I’m for anything that teaches high school students marketable skills while also keeping them out of trouble,” columnist Jenice Armstrong writes about a new carpentry program in South Philly that equips high school students with useful tools amid a summer of loss for many.

  1. “The history — as shown most recently and most brightly by the success of Philadelphia’s Vietnamese people — is clear: Pennsylvania only thrives with the renewal that comes from immigration. So let’s keep William Penn’s promise alive, yet again,” columnist Will Bunch writes that rocky acceptance of Vietnamese refugees after 1975 ultimately helped revive Philadelphia, and now we owe Afghan refugees that same chance.

  2. “The Phillies don’t care about winning,” Quizzo host Johnny Nottingham writes that the hometown team’s legacy is now tainted.

What we're reading

  1. All hype and no wingspan? Billy Penn knows the answer to the question of summer: Where have all the spotted lanternflies gone?

  2. Vox says that amusement parks — replete with mind-boggling opulence, scale and spectacle — are just as swaggy as America, and they’re starting to crumble.

  3. Buzzfeed boldly claims it can guess your zodiac sign if you just fill your ideal buffet table with all your favorites.

Photo of the day