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ALBANY — Advocates for raising New York State’s minimum wage will be protesting outside the offices of some legislators Friday including Sen. Jack Martins in Nassau County in a late effort to get Senate support.
Back in Albany, however, Senate Republicans have blocked progress on the effort with just a week of the 2014 legislative session remaining.
Senate Republicans who share control of that chamber have opposed the measure, saying it could eliminate some jobs and hinder an economic recovery while adding a burden to businesses.
Liberal groups including the Working Families Party, however, plan the protest to push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, to inflation automatic increases with inflation, and to allow local governments a way to set a higher wage for their city or county.
“Any candidate who stands in the way of raising wages for workers does so at their own peril,” said Austin Shafran, spokesman for the liberal, labor-backed Working Families Party.
A Martins spokesman said, "Senator Martins voted to increase the minimum wage last year, and it will continue to increase through 2016. The Working Families Party, currently under investigation by a special prosecutor as ruled by a judge this week, should be protesting their own candidate Adam Haber, who pays his workers minimum wage and lays them off when his business fails."
The protests appear to target lawmakers facing tight re-election races this fall in districts with large Democratic voter enrollment.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is amending a bill now that could be passed in that chamber by scheduled end of the 2014 legislative session on June 19.
Silver on Wednesday said he at least wants to accelerate raises in the wage approved last year.
The state minimum wage is $8 an hour. Legislation passed last year will increase the wage to $9 on Dec. 31, 2015. But since that political compromise with Republicans who felt a higher wage could cost jobs in a fragile economic recovery, the Obama administration and other states have proposed $10 wages.