August 29, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Fast food workers, elected officials and political candidates who are part of the Raise Up NY coalition called for allowing New York City to set its own minimum wage here at City Hall on Thursday, August 28, 2014.
One of those candidates is Pete Sikora, who is running for the Assembly seat in Assembly District 52 in Brooklyn for the upcoming September 9th Democratic primary. He’ll be facing off against two challengers, Jo Anne Simon and Doug Biviano.
In the accompanying video interview, Sikora said he joined the press conference because New York City needs to increase its minimum wage.
“Because we need to end poverty in this city and the best way to do it is to raise the minimum wage. We need to change a system where the top 1 percent gets 38 percent of the wealth in this city, the bottom needs to come up and we need a stronger middle class. That’s why I’m here,” said Sikora.
Some of the speakers said during the press conference that if other cities across the country can increase their minimum wage, so can New York City. They noted that with just 12 days before New York State’s primary elections, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, announced plans to raise that city’s minimum wage to $13.50 an hour.
The coalition wants the state government to immediately raise New York’s minimum age from $8 to $10.10, with indexing to cost of living increases. They’re calling on voters to support candidates such as Sikora who support legislation that would allow New York City to set its own minimum wage, rather than Albany.
Assemblyman David Weprin, who represents Assembly District 24, warned during the presser it’ll be harder to raise the state’s minimum wage if Republicans remain in control of the state Senate.
“Part of the problem has been in the state senate which has veto power by the Republican coalition, co-majority. The only reason we haven’t raised the minimum wage beyond the $8.00 and allow local option [to raise the minimum wage] is because of the Republicans in the state senate,” said Weprin.
Fabio Bowens, a fast food worker at KFC who earns the minimum wage, said in the video interview he needs to make more money per hour to make things better.
“It’s a good cause for what we’re fighting for because we’re trying to benefit ourselves as well as others too. With this little $8, I can barely keep the phone on,” said Bowens.