Jewish Leaders Join Minimum Wage Campaign

Seek To Boost Wage to $8.50 Per Hour in New York

By Simi Lampert

Published July 11, 2012.
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Jewish clergy joined religious leaders of several faiths at a breakfast meeting to discuss the need for a higher minimum wage in New York.

Organized by a non-partisan advocacy group Working Families, the Faith and Clergy Breakfast was intended to gather support for the campaign for raising minimum wage, and specifically for a rally being held on July 24 in Times Square.

Speaking at the breakfast were various clergymen and women, including Rabbi Miachel Feinberg, Executive Director of the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition and a member of Rabbis for Human Rights. Also speaking were low-wage workers, who spoke about struggling to survive while working for the minimum wage or less.

The national minimum wage is currently set at $7.25, which has not increased along with the rate of inflation. Some states have chosen on their own to raise their minimum, but New York is not one of them. A full-time minimum wage worker earns about $15,000 annually before taxes, which puts any family living on that salary below the poverty line.

The breakfast was a show of religious unity in support of the proposed increase. At the end of the meal, clergy were asked to sign a sheet of paper pledging to get their congregations involved somehow.

The rally on July 24 will be held in Times Square, and will call for an increase to $8.50 an hour, which would add approximately $2,500 to the minimum-wage worker’s annual salary.


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