Friday, July 22, 2016

Testimony in Bridgeport Calls for $15 minimum wage

Dozens of low-wage workers demanding Connecticut’s minimum wage be increased to $15 an hour testified at a hearing in Bridgeport called by the Low-Wage Employer Advisory Board.  The 12-member task force was created by the state legislature to study the impact of low wages.

A recent report from Economic Policy Institute shows the wealthiest one percent in Connecticut captured all the state’s income growth from 2009 to 2013. Connecticut has the second-highest income inequality, and Bridgeport has the second-highest among metropolitan areas nationally.

Richard Grimes, a homeless Hartford-area Burger King worker and member of the Fight for $15 said “I work for a multi-billion dollar company yet I make so little I cannot afford a place to live. Each day I have to decide between buying a meal and paying for the bus to get to work. A $15 minimum wage would change my life drastically.”

Raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour would lift families out of poverty and boost the economy, bringing billions of dollars to Connecticut.

"Two out of three minimum wage workers are women, including single moms,” said Queen Freelove, a childcare provider in New Haven. "I make it possible for many of those parents to get and keep their jobs.  But many parents can't afford to pay much. No company should be allowed to pay their workers poverty wages."

Wages have stagnated for all workers, but those in lower-paying jobs have been hit the hardest.
State Senator Marilyn Moore, chair of the Human Service committee worked in a low-wage job at Target last summer. “The work is physically and psychologically demanding, and workers — many raising children — not only need but deserve a base of $15 an hour. It would dignify their labor, and ultimately benefit their employers and customers.” 

I have seen firsthand the erosion of the middle class in Bridgeport,” said State Senator Ed Gomes. “We need a minimum wage that can sustain adult workers and help them raise their families toward a brighter future. If low-wage workers have more money to spend in a town like Bridgeport, the ripple effect would benefit the entire economy.”

The Advisory Board is expected to make its recommendations in December.

Stained Glasses at Yale Spark Protest

Many people rallied Tuesday morning in-front of the Superior Court Building on Elm St in support of a former Yale employee Corey Menafee, 38. He was terminated after he broke a controversial window pane with a broom handle while working in the Calhoun College Dining Hall on Yale's campus.

The window pane depicted two African-American slaves picking cotton, which disturbed Menafee when looking at it daily. Calhoun, for whom the College is named, served as the 7th vice president of the United States and was an outspoken and foremost supporter of slavery and the preservation of slavery,

The images led to ongoing fights in the past years between Yale and the facility, alumni, students and community over getting the dining hall and its symbolism to Calhoun's legacy removed and renamed, which Yale is considering now especially after this controversial action took place.

Meanwhile, Menafee's actions were used to force him resign after nine years of employment as a dishwasher on the university's campus. This led to a large debate and support and rally during Menafee's court appearance.

He did not enter a plea to the charges in the June 13th incident of second degree reckless endangerment and first degree criminal mischief which is considered a felony. His court case was continued to July,26.

Many people took to social media expressing mixed views for Corey's choice of action which he soon after apologized for doing. Friends even starting a "Go Fund Me Page For Corey" which has grossed over $19,000 in the few days its been created, toward a $25,000 goal which is sure to be reached.
Social organizations for immigration and equality rights and Yale's political community and student organizations are coming to Corey's aid and supporting him and calling on Yale to "re hire" Corey and move into the 21st century with change.

Yale who agreed to drop charges if Menafee resigns, says it will remove a number of window panes and replace them with new tinted glass and donate the old controversial window panes to its museums.