Vote to Support Living Wage in Tompkins County
October 22, 2013
TOMPKINS COUNTY -- (WENY) Contracted workers in Tompkins County have been fighting for a living wage for years. And relief may finally be in sight.
"We really have the belief that someone is working eight hours a day working hard that should be enough to get an apartment and take care of their
children and put food on the table," said Legislator Nate Shinagawa.
Shinagawa proposed to earmark $100,000 to help contracted county workers make at least a living wage. This won't change the tax levy since the money was already budgeted. Since the money comes from contingency funds the final decision lies with the county if they'll approve the contracts. Some voted no to putting this money aside.
Legislator Frank Protto said, "I think it was premature to allocate or put a rope around the money in the contingent fund this early in the budget process."
This money would be for new 2014 contracts only. They won't be re-negotiating old contracts. Workers like Stanley McPherson, who we spoke to a few weeks ago, says it's a step in the right direction and they need those wages now.
"By taking the money, the $100,000, and putting that in contingency funds, just says, you know what it's enough talk," said Stanley McPherson, a worker at ReCommunity.
Some on legislature know the amount isn't nearly enough but say it's a good place to start.
"The county administrator found that if we were to get every employee of the contracted agency or business that works with the county up to a living wage,
that would cost one or two million dollars. And look we don't have the money to do that we just don't, but $100,000 dollars to me is a start," added Shinagawa.
There are still two more meetings and a public hearing on November 12th, where this could change.