Statement of George Gresham, President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Speaker Silver’s Proposal To Increase Minimum Wage
“We applaud Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Keith Wright for their leadership in proposing legislation that will raise the minimum wage by $1.25, taking it from $7.25 to $8.50 by 2013, and indexing that wage level to inflation. If enacted, the increase would raise the wages of 1.2 million hard working New Yorkers.
This week, New York State’s elected officials proved they are paying attention to public support for fair share taxes and the demand for economic justice as embodied by the protests of the Occupy movement. Returning to the state Capitol in Albany for a special session, the Legislature and the Governor reached an agreement that will cut taxes for the middle class, create jobs, and for the first time in decades begin to restructure the tax code toward a more equitable system.
Again, organized labor has made a stunning victory in what was once thought of as an unwinnable race in upstate New York. Democrat Erie County Executive Candidate Mark Poloncarz defeated incumbent Republican Chris Collins. Poloncarz, who now becomes only the second Democrat to win the Erie County Executive’s race in the 51-year history of the office,- defeated Collins by a margin of 53 to 47 percent. The victory comes just several months after underdog Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated her Republican opponent in a heavily Republican District to capture the Congressional seat in New York’s 26th District.
1199ers in the New York metropolitan region are preparing to take part in a November 17 Day of Action for good jobs and a fair, democratic economy. The event organizers, a broad coalition of unions, progressive groups and the Occupy Wall Street movement, have called for a “day of peaceful direct action to reject the economy that divides us.”
1199SEIU Member Political Organizers in New York’s Hudson Valley and Capital Region took to the streets in mid-October to campaign for the local candidates who would best represent the interests of working families and their communities. Their hard work proved successful when the ballots were counted on Election Day, November 8. Most 1199SEIU-backed candidates were elected.
Weeks of knocking on doors, calling voters, and rallying support for candidates in contested districts throughout New Jersey have led to sweeping victories for elected officials who support working families. 1199SEIU and other local labor organizations provided thousands of members wore out their knuckles knocking on doors to ensure victory in Tuesday’s elections.