Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol in Albany today urging the state Legislature to raise the minimum wage to $8.75 or more an hour, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
The groups, including workers and members of the clergy, delivered petitions with more than 30,000 signatures to Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who heads the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference. They also held a protest and prayer service on the million-dollar staircase in the Capitol.
“Today’s ‘day of action’ organized by a broad-based coalition of advocates is a clear demonstration that the public sentiment is also on our side,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by and allow New York’s working families to continue to struggle to make ends meet due to stagnant wages.”
The goal is to have “the strongest minimum wage increase this year,” said the Raise the Minimum Wage Coalition. They support Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $8.75 by July. It’s currently $7.25 an hour.
The coalition said they also want the legislature to increase wages along with inflation to bring the minimum wage above $8.75 in the future.
“The days of minimum wage jobs being reserved for high school students earning some extra pocket money are long over,” said Mario Cilento, president of the state AFL-CIO, in a statement.
The coalition said a recent report by the Fiscal Policy Institute showed that an increase to $8.75 would raise the paychecks of more than 1.5 million people and create 7,300 new full-time jobs statewide.