Demand for minimum wage increase in New York

Posted at: 11/19/2012 4:00 PM
Updated at: 11/19/2012 5:55 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - There is a sign on a church just one block from the State Capitol: On winter mornings 140 people come here for breakfast.

It's more a necessity than a choice.

"If the minimum wage doesn't cover necessities, it's not a minimum wage," said the Reverend Debra Jameson, an emergency food organizer. "It's a minus wage."

But in this state, for many thousands, having a job isn't enough to pay the way for their families.

"No matter what job you have, you should not have to choose between eating or heating," Jameson said.

Advocates gathered at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Albany, then made the short march to the State Capitol steps.

"We are unstoppable. A minimum wage is possible," they chanted.

It's a demonstration more for news coverage than legislative attention.

Lawmakers almost never meet here on Mondays and haven't been in real session for many weeks.

But advocates know that to have a real chance of increasing the current $7.25 an hour minimum they need to apply continuing pressure.

What better occasion than Thanksgiving week when almost everyone notices hunger in this land of so much?

"This Thanksgiving we must recognize that the working poor need change before charity," said Sarah Niccoli of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.