Upstate New Yorkers Rally to Raise Minimum Wage

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By Alexandra Deryn

ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) – A coalition of Upstate New Yorkers that includes small businesses, politicians and laborers is fighting to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Tompkins County Workers’ Center hosted a rally with blue-collar workers to discuss the type of future their trying to build.

“I think everyone should be able to live above poverty level and to be able to live…to have a productive life,” said Yolanda Josephs, coalition worker.

Workers and businesses gathered together with the members of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Building, in Ithaca.

“There’s not enough income for employees… for housing, for food, for social events, I mean…for their children and different things, childcare, different things like that,” Joseph said.

Pete Meyers, a member of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, helped coordinate the rally. Meyers said the goal to raise the minimum wage is necessary because it will lead to a better life for many New Yorkers.

“People can’t live on (minimum wage) … A single person can’t live on it… imagine people with a family… like, one child, two child, children. How can they possibly live on that? It’s unjust and people feel stuck in jobs that are dead-end jobs. Many people do,” argued Meyers.

Ithaca City Council member Jorge DeFendini joined in speaking out against the current minimum wage in New York State. Speaking during the rally, DeFendini reasoned that raising wages will benefit not only workers, but the economy as well.

“More people may actually begin to enjoy their lives, go out to eat more, laugh with friends at the movies, put money away for those bigger purchases, which we were promised…was the American Dream,” he said.


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