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Minimum Wage Hike Goes Into Effect On New Years Day

by Christine Stuart | Dec 30, 2013 3:02pm
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Jobs, Labor

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy surrounded by labor advocates

An estimated 65,000 to 70,000 workers in Connecticut will see an increase in their pay Jan. 1 when the minimum wage increases 45 cents from $8.25 to $8.70.

That means an extra $18 a week and more than $936 a year for an individual working 40 hours a week.

“This is a real shot in the arm,” for those individuals, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday at a Capitol press conference.

He said about 60 percent of the minimum wage workers in Connecticut are working in food-related businesses.

“They deserve a break today,” Malloy quipped referring to a McDonald’s slogan.

The 45-cent hike passed earlier this year by the General Assembly will help lift these individuals out of poverty, according to Malloy.

He said he’s heard the argument that these minimum wage workers are mostly teenagers, but he said that most of the time those teenagers are contributing to their families “because that’s how bad it has gotten in the United States.”

Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said that those earning the minimum wage are more often older adults trying to provide for themselves or their families.

“Those who earn the minimum wage include a disproportionately higher number of women, blacks, and Hispanics.They already face the obstacles of discrimination and lesser pay for equal work,” Williams said. “But those earning minimum wage include a large number of white males as well.”

Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said there are many workers trying to piece together several minimum wage jobs in order to make a living.

“Most minimum wage jobs are in many cases hard work, repetitive work, often work that is somewhat tedious and time weighs heavy on people who are working on minimum wage jobs,” Looney said.

He said time is finite and society has a “continuing obligation to make sure that those people are not left behind.”

Labor Department Commissioner Sharon Palmer said the state should make every effort it can to try and get these minimum wage workers to a living wage.

Malloy said he supports efforts by Democrats in Congress to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour, but declined to say exactly what he considers a living wage.

“I think that the living wage is undoubtedly more than the minimum wage,” Malloy said. “. . . But I think we need to be about raising wages generally speaking.”

The minimum wage will increase to $8.70 on Wednesday and another 30 cents in 2015. The new law adjusts tip credit rates over the next two years so that restaurants and hotels are not required to increase the wages they pay their waitstaff and bartenders. Hourly wages for waitresses and waiters will remain at $5.69 and bartenders will continue to make $7.34. Tips from patrons are expected to make up the difference.

Small business advocates have argued that it will be tough for businesses to absorb the increase.

During the debate in the House, Rep. Anthony D’Amelio, a Waterbury Republican who runs a restaurant, said many businesses want to pay their employees more but can’t afford it.

“This bill, as well-intentioned as it is, will cost jobs,” he said. “. . . There is nowhere else to squeeze a dollar, especially in this economy.”

Lawmakers in the House approved the bill in a 89-53 vote after almost six hours of debate. The Senate, which refused to take up a bill increasing the minimum wage in 2012, approved it on a 21-15 vote after around two-and-a-half hours of debate. No Republicans in either chamber voted in favor of the increase.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said increasing the minimum wage is part of a plan “to lift all boats.”

He said the increase in the minimum wage is part of an overall attempt to “bring Connecticut back and make our economy stronger.” He said that’s why he’s disappointed there were no Republican votes for the increase.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Art Vandelay | December 30, 2013  3:45pm

Union Wages for all government related construction projects will also go up on New Years Day.  Increasing the Minimum Wages has NOTHING to do with helping the plight of the POOR. It has EVERYTHING to do with increasing salaries of union members who rely on government labor contracts.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 30, 2013  8:09pm

It is ironic that Congress gave themselves generous raises two weeks ago—and Pres. Obama gave all federal workers decent raises last week—while miinimum wage workers only get “nickles and dimes.”  Our political leaders take care of themselves - “and close their eyes to providing decent jobs to the struggling mini-pay working class.”

posted by: ASTANVET | December 30, 2013  10:16pm

Don’t you think it’s mildly ironic that you have two stories back to back - one saying that unemployed are not free-laoders and the other about minimum wage hikes.  How does the rise in minimum wage effect unemployment?  Do that research and you will find a correlation with a rise in unemployment for youth, for unskilled labor, and for service industry - the most hard hit (urban areas) - I would really like to see an honest article about the ramifications on the underemployed and the long term effects (generationally) and what it means for the future work force.  Some empirical analysis would be great.  People in CT don’t like to believe guys like me because i’m a conservative, but if they read it here - maybe it will sink in.

posted by: jim black | December 31, 2013  10:06am

Great way to put more people out of work Dannel,
I’m sure you have many more bright ideas like this one.

posted by: FedUp | December 31, 2013  12:03pm

FedUp

If you really want to help lift the impoverished up the ladder and create an economically secure middle-class in CT, then this is what needs to be done: 1) Eliminate the inventory tax on businesses and reduce corporate income tax to 0% to 5% for those businesses which employ x-number of CT residents in full-time positions.  This will make CT a job haven instead of a black hole. 2) Adjust the fuel tax to match or be less than the lowest fuel tax in the nation.  This will save poor people more money than your Min Wage hike annually and help make CT a more attractive place to live compared to being called the Exodus State of the Union. 3) Reform healthcare by (a) following suit with S.Carolina by nullifying ObamaCare, (b) legislating that all health insurers stop discriminating between in-network and out-of-network awards, and requiring that all insurers post the actual dollar amount of what they will pay to licensed practitioners for each procedure; thus clearing the air for people to compare their ROI of their premiums and making Healthcare insurance more competitive. 4) Mandate that all universities receiving any State revenue provide preference to in-state residents for admissions compared to out-of-state applicants.  5) Eliminate the state Education Department—the vast majority of CT residents want to control the education policies of their own towns. 6) Reduce State expenditures to match the initial decrease in tax revenue.  Don’t worry Democrats, if you follow this plan our state will become financially healthy.  Oh but wait, the Democrats want to keep the poor and middle-class dependent upon them.  Okay, scratch all of this common sense.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 31, 2013  4:02pm

FedUp:  You told the truth - in detail - “but our
Democratic leadership practices the big political lie”—that denies good common sense—that in reality gives us taxation without representation. Gov. Malloy can’t defend the incompetence of his Democratic administration and doesn’t care as long as there are uncaring voters out there to reelect him for doing a bad job.  Lord have mercy on us.

posted by: ASTANVET | December 31, 2013  6:32pm

FEDUP - man you’re awesome -  PLEASE RUN FOR GOVERNOR!

posted by: Art Vandelay | January 3, 2014  1:23am

@FedUp,
I agree with you 100%.  Too bad no one in Hartford is listening.

posted by: StanMuzyk | January 3, 2014  12:11pm

Our government denies prayer in schools—and thanks to the ACLU we can no longer acknowledge—IN GOD WE TRUST - which was the foundation of our once great country. We are now allowed to only trust our SINFUL POLITICIANS—who have left this state and country in devilish-sad-shape.  Perhaps this is an indication that our believers in the Lord—do not pray enough for our salvation.