Greenpoint Gazette
Courtesy Adrian Gonzalez

Squadron Proposes Increase to Minimum Wage

BY Tanay Warerkar

State Senator Daniel Squadron is pushing for the implementation of a “Fair Wage,” act, and on Wednesday, was joined by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic representing Queens, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, on the steps on City Hall to announce the introduction of the bill to the legislature.

The new law – aimed primarily at fast food chains like McDonalds and megastores like Macy’s – is looking to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Workers deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “New York’s minimum wage does not go far enough to keep families out of poverty. Large chains, from McDonalds to 7-Eleven, have higher profits and lower costs, yet they still pay their workers poverty wages. We should raise the wage across the board in New York — and require those businesses that can most afford it to pay more.”

As of December 31, 2013, the minimum wage has increased to $8 an hour from $7.25. Due to successful legislation passed last year, the increase is part of a three-year increase that will increase the minimum wage to $9 by the end of 2015.

Squadron and his co-sponsors are arguing that that is not enough, especially with the continually rising costs in the city.

“If we are going to truly build up New York, we have to put money back in workers’ pockets, said Priciliano Hernandez, a member of Make the Road New York, an organization that works primarily for Latinos and working class communities to promote civil rights. “Last year’s minimum wage increase was a good first step but did not go far enough. Our city and state can do better!”

The introduction of the bill in New York follows a nationwide trend of an increasing demand for higher minimum wages. Last September, Walmart employees in several cities, protested for an increase in wages. That protest followed that of fast food workers who too demanded increased wages in a strike.

With the minimum wage only recently increased by the State, it remains to be seen how much traction this legislation is able to gain.

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