June 17, 2014
By Stephanie West
Albany, NY – More than 60 faith leaders from across New York has issued a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Legislative leaders calling for an immediate hike in the minimum wage, saying “It’s the right thing to do – and it is our moral obligation.”
The letter, signed by clergy from all denominations, called the state’s $8 minimum wage far too low.
“We urge you to support legislation that acts to lift over three million New Yorkers out of poverty and allows them to afford the basic necessities of life,” the strongly worded letter said in part.
Picking up on a speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave shortly before he was assassinated, the letter said it is time to “rid the world of poverty” and “bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots.”
The letter continued: “We firmly believe in every person’s human dignity — and that every worker deserves a fair wage and chance to make a decent living. In a state with the greatest gap between the rich and the poor, there is no excuse for New York’s current minimum wage.
“We are heartened by recent public statements by Governor Cuomo and Leader Stewart-Cousins and by anticipated introduction of new legislation in the Senate and Assembly to implement a significantly increased statewide minimum wage of $10.10 per hour with indexing, and to allow localities to increase this amount by up to 30 percent. These improvements would begin to allow millions of working New Yorkers to move out of poverty and towards self-sufficiency – but we must get all the way to truly livable wages for all working people in our staten,” stated the letter.