Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm against it

What is the purpose, actually, of New York state mandating an increase in the minimum wage to $15 for fast-food workers (in restaurants belonging to chains with more than 30 outlets nationwide; about 180,000 employees in the state, the Times thinks)? I mean, that's nice, as Loomis says, I'm pleased for the workers who have been agitating for this all year, but what about everybody else? What about the home health aids, nursing assistants, and hospital orderlies? What about casino dealers, shampooers, and theater ushers? What about the dishwashers and buspersons and counter attendants in diners and coffee shops and Chinese and Mexican joints and all the food service places that aren't in the fast-food chain category? What about agricultural workers earning an average $12.15 per hour with no overtime or workers' comp? What about thousands of employees of the state earning minimum wage?

The media—in particular WNYC radio—give plenty of coverage to the sad had by the fast-food owners (represented by Chris Christie's favorite lawyer, former Giuliani deputy Randy Mastro) who feel singled out, but nothing about the feelings of the workers who are left out.

A living wage in New York is still calculated at $18.47 per hour—$22.49 in New York City. But of available jobs in the state, 43% pay less than $15 (typical for the Northeast).

In his election campaign last year Andrew Cuomo promised, in return for support from the Working Families Party which foolishly endorsed him over progressive candidate Zephyr Teachout, that he would fight for an across-the-board minimum wage on the order of $10.50 (state)/$11.50 (city), but he's given up in the face of opposition from the Republicans in the State Senate, the ones who aren't in jail yet (he also backed down on promises to support Democrats in the Senate contests—oh, and another GOP Senator, Thomas Libous of Binghamton, has joined the criminal list, pleading guilty to corruption charges worth some five years in prison).

His views, as represented in a Union Square speech in May, are somewhat unclear:
"Some people call it income inequality and we've been talking about it for years," the governor told the crowd. "Unfortunately we've made little progress because it's not really income inequality because we've always had income inequality and we always will have income inequality," he said. "We never said in this country it should be equal incomes, it's not. But words matter and what we're really talking about is a state of affairs that has our economy commonly dealing with companies that don't want to pay a true minimum wage."
Words matter! But WTF do they mean? That paragraph is totally senseless! It could be Groucho Marx.

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