The Northern Westchester Examiner

Wagner Calls for Minimum Wage Increase

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Democratic State Senate hopeful Justin Wagner called for increasing the minimum wage and preserving the Wage Theft Prevention Act during a recent press conference in Baldwin Place.

Standing outside Stop & Shop, Wagner, who is challenging incumbent Senator Greg Ball (R/Patterson), also accepted the endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500.

“It’s no secret that this is still a tough economy and many working New Yorkers are struggling,” said Pat Purcell, assistant to the president of UFCW Local 1500. “Now more than ever we need Albany focused on growing good paying jobs, not making it easier for big chains and corporations to shortchange hard working men and women in a tough job market.”

UFCW Local 1500 represents more than 23,000 members working primarily in grocery stores in the New York metropolitan area, including Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, where the 40th Senate District lies.

Earlier this year, the state Senate voted to repeal the Wage Theft Prevention Act, a 2010 law that protects employees from being shortchanged by employers. In addition, the GOP dominated Senate, including Ball, opposed raising the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 per hour to $8.50.

“Good paying jobs for working and middle class New Yorkers are key to our economic comeback, but our minimum wage is a pale shadow of what we had decades ago,” said Wagner, an attorney who resides in Croton. “People in the Hudson Valley deserve a break. It’s not just good policy, it’s also the right thing to do. We need to reward hard work with an honest day’s pay.”

Wagner said his position on the issue as compared to Ball was “a clear policy difference. I’m standing with working New Yorkers and Greg Ball is standing against them.”

Attempts to reach Ball for comment were unsuccessful.

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