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368Min Wage Rally, Wed. March 19, 11:30 AM, NYC

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  • dunleamark
    Mar 18, 2014

      Coalition for a Real Minimum-Wage Increase

      Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Chinese Staff & Workers Association, Community Development Project – Urban Justice Center, Flushing Workers Center, Hunger Action Network of New York State, MFY Legal Services, National Mobilization Against SweatShops, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, New Economy Project

      As State Debates Budget, Coalition Calls on State Sen. Klein & Governor Cuomo:

      Don’t Play Politics—Repeal the Corporate Subsidies and Include All Workers in a REAL Minimum-Wage Increase

      The Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage will join with low-income workers, faith leaders, women’s groups, and advocates on Wednesday, March 19, at 11:30 a.m. to protest the state's low minimum wage, the exclusion of tipped workers, and the lack of enforcement of labor laws to address wage theft. The protest will take place in front of the Senate State office at 250 Broadway in Manhattan (across from the City hall). Key targets are Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, head of the IDC, and Governor Cuomo.

      In addition to workers, speakers at the rally will include Public Advocate Letitia James; Pastor Heidi Neumark of Trinity Lutheran Church; and Noreen Connell of the National Organization for Women-NYS.

      Senator Klein's decision last year to broker a deal to "share" power with the Senate Republicans rather than the majority Democrats in the Senate resulted in a three-year dealbrokered behind closed doors with Cuomo. The result: a bill detrimental to workers and beneficial to corporations. The deal raised the minimum wage to only $9 an hour by 2016, forcing many workers to stay below poverty level. The deal also excluded food tipped workers, 72% of whom are women. Only after protests over the exclusion did lawmakers direct the Governor to convene a minimum wage board to raise the pay for food tipped workers. But a year later Cuomo has still refused to do so.

      The coalition also calls for the repeal of last year's minimum-wage teenage tax credit that subsidizes low-wage corporate employers. This subsidy uses for corporate benefit the annual $40 million-plus savings that could instead be dedicated to increased wage enforcement. So far, only the Assembly has included this repeal in its budget resolution.

      Recent surveys indicate that low-income workers in NYC lose $1 billion a year in wage theft. The State Labor Department has weakly enforced the wage prevention law under Cuomo, with a two-year backlog of 14,000 cases. However, neither the Governor or the recent budget resolutions include increased funding to hire more labor investigators to improve wage enforcement.

      The coalition is asking State Senator Klein and Governor Cuomo to do the right thing:

      - Repeal the corporate subsidy
      - Increase the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour tied to inflation for all workers--including tipped employees
      - Stop discriminating against women workers and older workers
      - Enforce the labor law—take a stand against wage theft