In was an on again, off again light rain that fell as we all stood on line to get into yesterday’s city council meeting on the living wage bill. Movement slowed to a snail’s pace when the space for visitors inside the chamber filled up long before the meeting even began. Though despite the wait and the weather, neither factors greatly deterred the overwhelming majority of those who came in support of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act from waiting out for an opportunity to go inside. While standing on that line you could sense that there was a lively and confident mood among supporters, probably still resonating from the amazing rally the night before at Riverside Church where 2,500 came to hear CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous speak as to why the work this coalition was doing was so important to combating the issue of wage inequality quickly increasing in our city and and nation-wide. The energy in the air was all the convincing many of them needed to wait the length of time it took to get inside which ranged from 30 minutes to 1 hr 1/2 for others.
Once inside the debate was already in full swing, with a majority of the city council in attendance, questioning experts, businessman and union leaders from New York and around the country. Witnesses testified on both sides of the issue regarding the new amendments to the bill, how it would impact workers, business owners and the local economy. (If you need a refresher on the details here is some information on the basics)
Since the Manhattan Young Democrats are long time supporters of the living wage bill and our organization is a founding member of the Living Wage NYC Democratic Caucus, we submitted testimony to make sure the voice of Young New Yorkers would be present in this discussion.
This was just a second hearing and how this will eventually shake out is still unclear. The proponents of this bill , as always, have made themselves available for reasonable suggestions from the developer and business community. As active participants and organizers we look forward to seeing how those discussions pan out if and when the opponents are interested in coming to a compromise – something they were willing to do not that long ago.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning how to get involved please feel free to email me at [email protected]