On Wednesday, August 20th, hundreds rallied in front of the NYS DOL on Varick St. to demand Gov. Cuomo enforce and strengthen the labor law. Last month, after two months of protests, Gov. Cuomo finally broke his silence on the wage board and announced it would be convened. At the rally, workers demanded that Gov. Cuomo act on this promise and now actually convene the wage board to increase wages for tipped workers.
Workers were joined by New York State gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, who is running against Cuomo in the Democratic primary, as well as by Brian Jones, the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor. Workers and candidates alike pointed to Gov. Cuomo’s corruption that has recently surfaced with a federal investigation underway. Zephyr Teachout said, “Gov Andrew Cuomo is not fighting for everyone in NYS. He is fighting for his donors and himself…. Maybe the reason why he is silent on wage theft is because some of his biggest financial donors are the ones who benefit the most from stealing from all of us.”
Edgar, a service worker and NMASS member, questioned where Cuomo’s loyalties really lie–”If a worker stole from a restaurant where we work, the police would come and throw us in jail. When bosses steal from us workers, they get away with it.”
The Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage vowed to return each month until the wage board is actually convened; the Department of Labor starts enforcing the law and go back 6 years on wage theft claims; and the Department of Labor supports workers’ initiative to strengthen the law so that criminal employers can’t escape paying on court judgments and settlements after stealing wages from their workers.
The next picket will be held at 75 Varick Street, on September 17, 2014.
We call on all workers to join us in demanding a real minimum wage increase and enforcement of labor laws. Workers will take to the road, meeting with workers and organizations throughout NYS, to unite to call on Gov. Cuomo to take action now.
For more information about the Coalition or to join, call (212) 358-0295 or visit www.realminimumwage.org