Municipal Government

Two State Senators Block $15 Minimum

March 13, 2016
By Bill Lipton, Working Families Party, NYS Director

Bill Lipton

New York stands on the brink of history. Over the next few weeks, we could become the first state in the nation to pass a statewide $15 minimum wage.

It’s been a long road to get here. But two state senators are standing in the way. Republican Senators John DeFrancisco and Patrick Gallivan are now two of the biggest remaining obstacles in the way of a raise for 3 million New Yorkers. They need to hear from you.

Workers have been leading the fight for $15, and Gov. Cuomo has listened, calling for a historic wage board last year that ended up enacting $15 for fast-food workers. And this year, he led again, proposing a bold $15 minimum wage for all New Yorkers in his January budget address.

It’s a simple idea: no one should work full time and yet still live in poverty. It's an overwhelmingly popular idea too. Two thirds of New Yorkers support a $15 minimum wage in recent polling, including majorities of voters in NYC, the suburbs, and upstate alike. If Gov. Cuomo's plan passes, 187,000 workers in Western New York and 98,000 in Central New York would get a raise, adding billions in wages and economic activity.

But Republican Senators from these two areas — Sen. DeFrancisco from Syracuse and Sen. Gallivan from Western NY — have become the two leading opponents of a minimum wage increase. They've been throwing up roadblocks and refusing to listen to their own constituents, using tired and debunked right-wing arguments.

With the state budget deadline approaching at the end of March, we’re at a critical moment. Whether or not 3 million New Yorkers get a raise depends on how much pressure we can put on these two Senators right now to listen to their constituents and do the right thing.

Tell Republican Senators DeFrancisco and Gallivan: Don’t stand in the way of a raise for 3 million New Yorkers. Pass a $15 minimum wage!

March 13, 2016

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