New York, NY – Camille Rivera, executive director of UnitedNY, today released the following statement regarding the organization’s support of an increase in the State minimum wage:
“The New Year is upon us, and with the start of a new year comes resolutions to live differently, and make better decisions than in years prior. One necessary change that should be made is an increase the minimum wage for hardworking New Yorkers. We have long understood that life in New York is very, very expensive. Within our city limits, reside some of the wealthiest, and some of the poorest in the nation. The high cost of living, combined with the lack of well-paid jobs is slowly but surely pricing so many out of the State. While attracting tourism is important, we need to make sure the people who live here can afford to stay.
“With this increase in the minimum wage, it is also important that the increase be tied to inflation. The last time the Legislature voted to increase the minimum wage was 2004. Tying the minimum wage to inflation would prevent workers from having to wait another eight years to receive desperately needed pay increases.
“There’s a saying in New York that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Community groups like ours applaud Assembly Speaker Silver and his caucus for leading the charge to increase the minimum wage, because we see firsthand the effects of poverty on poor New Yorkers. Now is the time for our elected officials to resolve to make New York more affordable in 2012. Raising the minimum wage is good for New York’s economy, for our workers, and for our businesses. The livelihood of the State’s residents and communities depends on it.”