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Letters: Low-wage earners need $15 an hour

Labor leaders, workers and activists attend a rally

Labor leaders, workers and activists attend a rally for a $15 minimum hourly wage on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

As a volunteer representing Bend the Arc, a Jewish social justice organization, and one of the thousands who attended the Albany Fight for $15 rally on March 15, I want to encourage our state senators to stand up for what is both economically sound and morally correct [“Worries over wage hike,” News, March 17].

The cost of living is growing, and the present minimum wage is not enough! There are more than 2.3 million employed, hardworking New York residents who are paid minimum wage and, after an exhausting 40-hour week, are being forced to choose between paying their electric bills and putting food on the dinner table. When a mother or father with a full-time job is not paid enough to provide for a child’s basic needs, it is ethically wrong and an affront to American values.

Our New York State legislators should realize that raising the minimum wage also would have a positive effect on our economy. The beneficiaries of the $15 minimum wage will most certainly spend the extra dollars, so they will be put right back into our local economy.

Elise Teitelbaum, Smithtown

 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum hourly wage to $15 over the next few years would help millions of New Yorkers — very often women, young people and people of color — rise above the desperate struggle to feed, clothe and shelter their families.

There is virtually no disagreement that the current $9 minimum falls well below what constitutes a living wage for full-time employees working a 40-hour week.

Furthermore, contrary to ominous predictions from representatives of some business organizations, studies conducted by highly reputable economists have shown that increased wages do not cause significant job losses but, instead, lead to better economic conditions in the community. As one example, when Oregon raised its minimum wage in January 2014, employment rose faster than in neighboring Idaho, which didn’t raise wages.

As a Long Island consumer, I’m willing to pay a little more if it means that desperate employees no longer have to struggle to make ends meet.

Robert I. Adler, Port Washington

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