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"Fight for Fair Pay" - WENY HD News

Monday, March 23, 2015



Over 100 Advocate and Community Groups Including Hazel Dukes of NAACP, Beth Finkel of AARP and Kevin Sullivan of Catholic Charities Join "Fight for Fair Pay" Campaign

Hundreds of Business, Community and Faith-Based Leaders Stand Together in Support of Governor's Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage to $10.50 Statewide and $11.50 in New York City

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a diverse statewide coalition of advocacy, social justice, religious and community leaders have joined together in support of the "Fight for Fair Pay" campaign to raise the minimum wage in this year. These 115 community leaders join 85 private sector business and 86 faith-based leaders representing broad statewide support of the Governor's proposal, which increases the minimum wage from the current $8.75 to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in New York City.

"Raising the minimum wage will help our lowest wage workers afford a path out of poverty and toward a better future, and I am pleased these community leaders from all corners of New York State are standing with us to fight for fair pay," Governor Cuomo said. "These organizations serve diverse communities across the state, and I am proud to have their support as we work together to combat poverty and make a difference for more than one million New Yorkers. Ensuring fair pay is the right thing to do, and I urge the state legislature to stand with us this year."

In total, 1.3 million New Yorkers will experience higher wages as a result of the minimum wage increase, which translates into a $3.4 billion direct economic value statewide – meaning that more New Yorkers will have more money to spend on goods and services in their community. During the last six increases in New York State’s minimum wage, employment subsequently increased in industries with many minimum wage workers.

Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NYS Conference of NAACP said, "We know that this legislation is not only the right thing to do, but it is the moral thing to do."

Beth Finkel, New York State Director of AARP said, "AARP supports Governor Cuomo's proposal to bring the minimum wage more in line with the cost of living. Full-time, year-round work doesn't cut it for too many families, who still lack a decent standard of living. Low-wage jobs typically provide no health insurance or pension coverage, little if any paid time off, and virtually no job security - and low-wage workers often find it necessary to work two full-time jobs to make ends meet. The Governor's proposal would help lift families out of poverty."

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York said, "Catholic Charities sees firsthand, every day the needs of working men and women who are struggling to provide for their families. The dim prospect many face in obtaining jobs with decent wages burdens New York families. Too many are working more than one minimum wage job. Raising the minimum wage affords working families a better opportunity to pay the rent, put a decent meal on the table and meet other basic needs. As a recent study, commissioned by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, UJA-Federation, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, demonstrates, raising the minimum wage would have a significant impact on reducing poverty in New York. Decent work with decent wages is critical for all New Yorkers to live their lives in dignity."

Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank for New York City and Chair of the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force said, "One in five adults on a food pantry or soup kitchen line in New York City has a job – that’s almost 200,000 New Yorkers who are working but not earning enough to provide for themselves and their families. A minimum wage hike will certainly pose a strain on many charities' budgets, but in our high-cost city and state, low wages are a major cause of food insecurity. We commend Governor Cuomo’s leadership to address a key root cause of hunger."

Roberta Keller, Executive Director of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. said, "Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. supports Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 'Fight for Fair Pay,' and endorses his proposed increase to the minimum wage. We strongly believe that the hard-working families in Chautauqua County should be able to support their families with decency and pride, and not be at poverty’s doorstep. The proposed increase is an important first step in addressing the indefensible polarization of income that we witness in this country and in the state."

Community leaders who have joined the Governor's Fight for Fair Pay campaign include:

Capital Region

· Beth Finkel, New York State Director of AARP

· Florence Ohle, Executive Director of Community Action of Greene County, Inc.

· Carm Basile, CEO of the Capital District Transportation Authority

· Tina M. Sharpe, Executive Director of Columbia Opportunities, Inc.

· Lynn Ackershoek, Executive Director of Warren-Hamilton Counties Action Committee for Economic Opportunity, Inc.

· Deb Riitano, Executive Director of the Capital Area Council of Churches

· Anita Paley, Executive Director of Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council

Central New York

· Sharon Owens, Southwest Community Center

· Rita Paniagua, La Liga

· Mike Melara, Executive Director of Diocese of Syracuse Catholic Charities

· Walt Dixie, Founder and President of the Alliance Network

· Rebecca Fuentes, Lead Organizer of Workers Rights Center in Syracuse

· Melissa Mennon, On Point for College

· Williams Simmons, Syracuse Housing Authority

· Stephanie Hutchinson, Auburn Housing Authority

· Michele Jordan, Interreligious Food Consortium

· Sally Santangelo, CNY Fair Housing

· Joe O'Hara, Executive Director of PEACE, Inc.

· Diane Cooper-Currier, Executive Director of Oswego County Opportunities, Inc.

· Fanny Villarreal, Executive Director of YWCA of Greater Syracuse 

· Rev. John Schopfer, Pastoral Director of the Brady Faith Center

· Lindy Glennon, Executive Director of Cortland County Community Action Program, Inc.

· Laurie Piccolo, Executive Director of Cayuga-Seneca Action Community Program

· Mark Cass, Executive Director, The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse

· Nancy Gwin, Peace Activist, The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse

· Lorrie Ager, Peace Activist, The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse

Southern Tier

· Dammi Herath, PhD, Women's Opportunity Center

· Pete Meyers, Workers Rights Center - Tompkins County

· Lori Acardi, Catholic Charities of Broome County

· Natasha Thompson, Food Bank of the Southern Tier

· Jennifer Lesko, President and CEO of Broome County Urban League

· Renee Spear, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Tompkins and Tioga counties

· Mark Silvanic, Executive Director of Opportunities for Broome

· George Verder, President of Elmira-Corning NAACP

· Victoria Brown, President of Broome-Tioga NAACP

· Lee Dillon, Executive Director of Tompkins Community Action

· Tristram Coffin, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union

· Marcia Fort, Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center

· John Eberhard, Executive Director of Delaware Opportunities Inc.

Finger Lakes

· Hilda Rosario Escher, President & CEO, Ibero American Action League

· Elaine Spaull, Executive Director, Center for Youth

· Marlene Bessette, CEO, Catholic Family Center

· Colin Garwood, Executive Director, The Advocacy Center

· Colin Garwood, Executive Director, LDA Life and Learning Services

· James Norman, President & CEO, Action for a Better Community

· Janet V. Sunkin, Executive Director, Jewish Family Service of Rochester

· Carla Palumbo, President/CEO, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester

· Scott Benjamin, President of Charles Settlement House

· Gidget Hopf, President & CEO of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes

· Scott Benjamin, President of the Charles Settlement House

· Jean Carroll, President & CEO of YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County

· Edward Fancher, Executive Director of Community Action of Orleans & Genesee

· Stuart J. Mitchell, President & CEO of Pathstone Corp.

· Dr. Jeff Kaczorowski, President of The Children's Agenda

Hudson Valley

· John Savage, CEO, Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP)

· Michael Berg, Executive Director, Family of Woodstock, Inc.

· Willie Trotman, President, Spring Valley NAACP

· Frances E. Pratt, President, Nyack NAACP

· Wilbur Aldridge , Mid-Hudson Regional Rep. for NAACP

· Kim Cross, Executive Director, Nyack Center

· Brian Doyle, CEO of Family Services, Inc.

· Stacey Rein, President of United Way of Ulster County

· Elizabeth C. Spira, Executive Director of Community Action Partnership of Dutchess County

· Shirley Adams, Executive Director of Catharine Street Community Center

· Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County

· Kaytee Warren, Chief Professional Officer of United Way of Sullivan County

Long Island

· Richard Koubek, PhD, Chairman, Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature

· Paule Pachter, Executive Director, Long Island Cares, Inc.

· Randi Dressner, Executive Director, Island Harvest

· Curtiss Jacobs, President, 100 Black Men of Long Island, Inc.

· Sondra Cochran, Executive Director, Wyandanch Community Development Corporation

· Janet Walerstein, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.

· Karen Boorshtein, President & CEO of Family Service League

· H. Scottie Coads, Chair of Civic Engagement NAACP NYS

· Margarita Grassing, Executive Director of Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre

· Ken Lederer, Executive Director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN)

Mohawk Valley

· Sonia Martinez, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association

· Deidre Harvey, Director of the Oneida County Branch of the NAACP

· Amy Turner, Executive Director, Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency

· Ladan Alomar, Executive Director, Centro Civico

· Shelly Callahan , Executive Director, Mohawk Valley Refugee Center

· Louis Tehan, Executive Director & CEO, Upstate Cerebral Palsy

· Jan Forte, Executive Director of UNHS Neighborhood Works

New York City

· Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NYS Conference of NAACP

· Chris Kui, Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality

· Margarette Purvis, President & CEO, Food Bank For New York City

· Joel Berg, Executive Director , NYC Coalition Against Hunger

· Yeruchim Silber, Executive Director, Boro Park Jewish Community Council

· Lucia Gomez, Executive Director of La Fuente

· Lena Alhusseini, Executive Director of Arab American Family Support Center 

· Christopher Hanway, Executive Director of Jacob A. Riis Settlement House 

· Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

· Siobhan Danney, Executive Director of Emerald Isle Immigration Center

· Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer , Hetrick-Martin Institute

· Darrah Sip, Executive Director of the Retail Action Project

· Meg Fosque, Policy Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center NY (ROC NY)

· Jose Calderon, President of Hispanic Federation

· Steven Choi, Executive Director of The New York Immigration Coalition

· Mendy Mirocznik, President of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island

· Reverend Terri Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality

North Country

· Sister Donna Franklin, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Ogdensburg

· Allan Jones, Executive Director of Adirondack Community Action Program Inc.

· Carol Pynchon, Board President of GardenShare

· Bruce Garcia, CEO of the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin counties

Western New York

· Pastor James Giles, Buffalo PeaceMakers

· Pastor James Giles, Voice Buffalo

· Janique Curry, National Action Network, Buffalo/Niagara Falls Chapter

· Frank Mesiah, President, NAACP, Buffalo Branch

· Lou Jean Fleron, Co-Director, Partnership for the Public Good

· Casimiro D. Rodriguez, Sr., President, Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc.

· Tina Zerbian, Executive Director of Cattaraugus County Community Action

· Lesley Gooch-Christman, Executive Director of ACCORD

· Joshua Freifeld, Executive Director of Chautauqua Housing Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp (CHRIC)

· David Trent, Executive Director of NeighborWorks

· Roberta Keller, Executive Director of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.

A chart of the regional breakdown of the $3.4 billion in direct economic value and 1.3 million New Yorkers who will experience higher wages as a result of the increase is available here.

This week, 85 business and 86 faith-based leaders from across New York expressed support for the Governor's Fight for Fair Pay campaign. The Governor is urging New Yorkers to join the #Fight4FairPay campaign by contacting their state legislators; details are available on the Fight for Fair Pay website.

A reasonable minimum wage can help improve the standard of living for workers, reduce poverty, encourage fair and more efficient business practices, and ensure that the most vulnerable members of the workforce can contribute to the economy. An increase in the minimum wage will affect women and adults most, and lift more than 100,000 New Yorkers out of poverty.

More than 594,000 New Yorkers earn the current minimum wage of $8.75 per hour. The State has taken action to raise the minimum wage incrementally from $7.25, when Governor Cuomo came to office, to $9.00 by the end of 2015. This progress has been important, but it has not been enough to make up fully for a trend that had seen the minimum wage fall far below the average hourly wage in the state, now over $30. The Governor proposes to again raise the minimum wage to increase earnings for many wage earners in low-income households, which will also aid local economies.