Don’t dally — rally!

If it’s Tuesday in Albany, you know something is going on. During legislative sessions, Tuesdays are packed with people at the Legislative Office Building and the Capitol eager to speak with their representatives. This Tuesday (tomorrow), there will be also be a statewide rally to raise New York’s minimum wage. It starts at noon.

It’s shameful how low our minimum wage is.

At $7.25 an hour, New York’s minimum wage totals $15,080 for a full-time, year-round worker. That’s before taxes, of course. Just to give you an idea of what that means, today I polled six office colleagues who rent apartments. Their monthly rent ranged from $725 to $1,150, all within a radius of about 20 miles of the capital of New York. That’s an average rent of $928 per month. The lowest rent totals $8,700 a year and the highest is $13,800. That’s just for a roof over their heads, and does not include heat. (It’s been mostly in the teens for the past week, with temperatures often dropping near or below zero). It also doesn’t include gas to get to work ($3.65 a gallon is the average price here) or  bus fare. Then there is food. (Peanut butter averages $3.29; jelly about $3; and a loaf of whole grain bread is about $4.) Of course, there is still insurance (renters, car, life) to pay and cleaning supplies and … well … you get the picture.

So come rally and share your voice and your concern. This event is being hosted by the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. Participants can meet at 11 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church and proceed to the Capitol. There will be an interfaith prayer service and rally on the Capitol’s “Million Dollar Staircase.” Buses are coming up from New York City and Long Island.

Unlike New York, 10 states automatically update their minimum wages to keep pace with the rising cost of living. If our state had done this and kept up with inflation, the minimum wage would be about $10,80 per day. But New York’s minimum wage has only gone up 10 cents in the last five years.

Shameful!

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