On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 6:07 AM, Green News – DC <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hawkins Blasts Cuomo for Lousy Minimum Wage Deal
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2013
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party gubernatorial candidate who finished
third in the 2010 win a ballot line for his party, blasted the minimum
wage deal that Governor Cuomo has put together.
“I pointed out when I ran that Cuomo was no friend of working people
and he has certainly proved that since taking office. This deal keeps
the minimum wage as a sub-poverty wage. Cuomo has agreed to exclude
tip workers while providing hundreds of millions of dollar in tax
giveaways to the fast-food and low-wage industries. For Cuomo, state
fiscal problems are caused by basic public services used by children,
seniors, students and workers, not the corporate welfare subsides and
tax cuts on high incomes that both major parties have been lavishing
on the 1% for more three decades now,” stated Hawkins.
Hawkins said that Cuomo actions to keep the Senate Republicans in
power in order to support his austerity agenda are paying another
dividend to his corporate donors in the minimum wage deal.
“Last year Cuomo killed a minimum wage hike even though public opinion
polls demonstrated overwhelming support among voters for it, including
Republicans. Then he allowed the Republicans to gerrymander the Senate
district lines in order to try to hang on to a majority even though
there are two million more enrolled Democrats in the state. When that
failed, Senators Klein and Valesky and the other conservative
Democrats in the Independent Democratic Conference (all also nominated
by the corporate Democratic branding operation called the Working
Families Party) decided to break off and keep the Republicans in power
despite their minority status. Cuomo, as leader of the Democratic
Party, did nothing to prevent that maneuver by conservatives,” Hawkins
“This lousy minimum wage deal shows the power of the 1%. When it comes
to workers and economic justice, Cuomo does the bidding of his
corporate donors just as well as any Republican. Remember, the
mufti-billioinaire Koch brothers gave Cuomo $92,000 on 2010, more than
double their donations in 2010 to the union busting Republican
Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, who got $43,000,” added Hawkins.
Hawkins Calls for an Immediate $12 Minimum Wage Indexed to Inflation
Hawkins said he supports a minimum wage of $12 an hour, immediately,
with indexing for inflation. He urge minimum wage advocates to
continue to demand a better deal, both to include tip workers but also
a much higher initial wage.
Hawkins noted that the minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be
$10.67 today when adjusted for inflation. If the minimum wage had
risen in step with productivity growth since 1968, it would be over
$16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by
40 percent of men and 50 percent of women.
“In other words,” Hawkins said, “half of American workers now make
less than the 1968 minimum wage had the minimum wage kept pace with
productivity gains. As workers, we are producing about twice as much
per hour as 1968 workers did. But the 1% is grabbing that value we are
creating by our labor. That is why half of American families are in
poverty or a paycheck away from it. $12 an hour is a quite modest
proposal when you consider how much value American workers are
producing,” Hawkins said.
“Let’s also drop the falsehood in this debate that is it is mainly
struggling small businesses that pay the minimum wage. In fact, a 66
percent majority of minimum wage workers are employed by businesses,
but with over 100 employees. It is the Wal-Mart’s of the business
world who are profiting most from the low minimum wage standard and
also relying on taxpayer subsidies to keep their poverty wage workers
fed, housed, and health enough to work for them because these minimum
wage workers are paid so low they qualify for food stamps, Section 8
and public housing rent subsidies, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax
Credit,” Hawkins said.
“The Senate Democrats are calling the deal half a loaf. It’s not near
half a loaf. It’s just stale crumbs,” Hawkins added.