New York State Assembly Democrats have passed a bill to raise the minimum wage from the current federal level of $7.25 to $8.50. Governor Andrew Cuomo has controversially stated raising the minimum wage in New York will be harder than passing marriage equality, as he thinks it will be stuck at this point in the political process. “This is a broader and a deeper divide” he says in comparison. Activists who seek to raise wages are up against a number of obstacles, including numerous propagandists and politicians who spin the debate against it.
In Albany, Six Occupy Albany activists were charged with misdemeanors for trespassing in their demonstration aimed at raising the minimum wage. Demonstrators left a note for Dean Skelos, saying:
“Listen, we get that you are an Albany insider and are in bed with big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent. You should realize that you are completely isolating yourself on this issue and that you and your party are going to have to go to the polls in November as the party that is so out of touch that they believe millionaires need a tax cut but people making $7.25 an hour don’t need a raise.”
The bill raising minimum wage, backed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver seeks to help poverty levels, specifically in New York, where living expenses are so high.
In Houston, janitors who say they earn approximately $9,000 a year protested their wages. 11 janitors say they were barred from their jobs after having participated in a strike. 3,200 janitors also voted to strike against “misconduct by janitorial contractors” perpetrated by some of the city’s largest corporations.
The fight against poverty and for fair wages continues on for people across the country. In times when people’s own interests are distorted against themselves by politicians who claim “class warfare,” it remains important to be aware and insistent on what is morally right.