top of page

Special election to fill 3 seats should ease partisan issues


By Rep. Anita Kulik

Little progress has been made these past few weeks toward resolving partisan disagreements in Harrisburg.

Following certification of the special elections being held on Feb. 7, to fill three vacant seats in the House, the body should be returning to session. The seats were left empty after the death of Tony DeLuca and the elections of Summer Lee to the U.S. House and Austin Davis to the position of lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

House members remain busy introducing legislation and holding policy hearings on key issues.

Worker misclassification

On Jan. 27, I hosted a policy hearing at the Carpenter’s Union Hall in Collier Township. More than 20 of my colleagues attended, along with numerous union members and local officials.

The topic of the hearing was the misclassification of workers, which is a major issue of concern in our region because of its impact on workers, families and communities alike.

Worker misclassification occurs when an employer designates workers as independent contractors rather than full or part-time employees. This practice is particularly prevalent in the construction industry, but also impacts drivers, home health aides, salon workers, cleaning workers and many others who find themselves at an economic disadvantage by not receiving proper pay or benefits common to those classified under the law as employees.

By saying workers are independent contractors, employers avoid paying prevailing wages, employment and social security taxes, and healthcare benefits. The widespread impact of exploiting workers is great. Besides loss of tax revenue, there is an extra burden put on publicly funded programs and services.

Lack of concern by some employers for the needs of workers leads to other problems, such as safety in the workplace. On-the-job accidents and injuries are higher among workers classified as independent contractors rather than those classified as employees with proper pay and benefits.

The current state of the law must be changed to prevent exploitation. A bill introduced last session had bipartisan support but did not become law. It is a matter that will be again introduced in this new session and hopefully given the consideration needed to pass into law.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania hit a record low this past December.

This is good news, though, from the number of hiring signs at local businesses, some industries, like hospitality, are still hurting for employees.

Governor Josh Shapiro has made it easier for job-seekers to apply for state jobs. Shapiro signed an executive order removing a college degree requirement for most state positions. Work experience and skills-based training will be prioritized over level of education.

This order covers 92% of state jobs State agencies will now ask about experience and prior training from job seekers. Employment opportunities can be found at

PA CareerLink is especially helpful for job-seekers with disabilities, veterans, students, mature persons and those re-entering the workforce. SkillUp PA, a web-based e-learning service offering online courses to help job-seekers improve their marketability, could also help. Pa CareerLink and SkillUp PA services can be accessed at

As always, assistance on these and other state-related programs can be had by contacting my office or the offices of your local senator or representative.

bottom of page