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August 1st, 2012

Local officials join workers in call for raise of minimum wage

New York State Assemblyman Frank Skartados
NEWBURGH - As part of their Mid-Hudson Valley 99% campaign, members of community groups including Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard Power, Working Families Organization and Worker Justice Action, joined workers across the country today as part of a national day of action to raise the minimum wage.

Speaking out near City Hall, low wage workers, seniors, the unemployed, community groups and local elected officials urged Rep. Nan Hayworth to support the Catching up to 1968 Act of 2012 which would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

Willie Read, a Poughkeepsie father of four, a grandfather and a great-grandfather, works a per diem job driving for a rehab facility. “When I was working a minimum wage job, we were homeless for a while, and were forced into Section 8 just to put a roof over our heads. I had to put my wife and kids on Social Services to survive. No one can live off of $7.25 an hour. Living off of minimum wage is living in poverty.”

City Councilmember Gay Lee said, “The minimum wage is a serious problem in the city of Newburgh. The minimum wage cannot support a family’s basic needs. It’s more than $7,000 below the poverty wage for a family of four.”

A new report by the National Unemployment Law Project that finds most low-wage workers are employed by large, highly profitable corporations who can easily afford the increase that communities like those in the Mid-Hudson Valley so desperately need. A raise in the minimum wage would benefit 15,400 workers or 9.6% of the workforce in the city of Newburgh.

Assemblyman Frank Skartados said, “New York needs a raise indeed, and New York can lead the way as a progressive state and show the rest of the country that it is important for us to allow people to be able to put food on the table, pay their bills, pay their rent, support their children, and do all the things we have to do as taxpayers. A low wage earner makes $15,080 a year. I wonder who can make a living on that?”
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