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CCSEJ_TheMinimumWageDeal

CCSEJ_TheMinimumWageDeal

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Published by Casey Seiler
God is not pleased.
God is not pleased.

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Published by: Casey Seiler on Mar 22, 2013
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08/21/2013

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A Statement from
The Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice
on theProposed Legislative Increase to the N.Y.S. Minimum Wage in the New York State Budget.
The Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice (CCSEJ) working together in anaugust determined coalition of faith leaders, social activists and labor organizations, has workeddiligently in advocacy on behalf of the legislative increase in the New York State minimum wage,which would help to bring dignity to the working poor of the City and State of New York andthat serves to honor all work as a core value of family and respectful human purpose in our civilsociety. An increase to the minimum wage in the State and across the nation is desperatelyneeded, and New York’s Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature have the presentopportunity to lead the way setting the moral and political bar on wages paid to the least among us in the State, lifting the working poor and thousands of working families to greater self-sufficiency, a constituency without powerful voice in Albany. An opportunity, that with today’sannounced New York State budget deal, they have now squandered.
On this urgently needed increase to the minimum wage a final secret deal has beenbrewed in Albany, now with four men in the room instead of the usual three, and again with nopublic transparency, or accountability. It is absolutely clear that Governor Cuomo, and the newgoverning coalition in the New York State Senate, consisting of the Independent DemocraticCoalition (the IDC) and the N.Y. State Senate Republican's have felt the political and mediapressure as their entire rationale for being is under moral and political scrutiny in the face of overwhelming support around the state for a needed increase in the minimum wage among otherdire pressing issues. It has become abundantly clear that the proposed New York State budgetdeal on this increase falls far short of the goal of greater self-sufficiency, human empowermentand dignity on behalf of the working poor and the working family.
 
Oftentimes groups have to become pragmatic and resign themselves to the fact thatadvocates have to fight for what they can get and learn to see the proverbial glass as half full.CCSEJ has no quarrels with those within our coalition of faith, social and labor activists whohave taken this position. However, CCSEJ and our network of churches, clergy and people of 
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faith and conscience cannot embrace this position and reject in its entirety the reported proposedcompromise. We do so for the following reasons:1.We are clergy and peoples of faith and conscience, we are NOT politicians. Our principlesand impetus for social action and our stand for social and economic justice emanate not froma root of political pragmatism, but from a root of faith in God, a life of ministry in service tothe same and His Creation. We believe that our core must be rooted in the highest of humanideals. The machinations in the negotiations we've witnessed in Albany over the last week have been anything but the highest of human ideals. The negotiations and politicalbargaining have been deceptive, opaque, illegitimate and immoral, as over a million NewYorker's will still be earning wages far below the federal poverty guidelines so that businessowners and corporations can turn profits on their backs. The failure to raise the wage to themeager $9/hr. by January 1, 2014, as set by President Barack Obama in the State of theUnion, is a governmental and political acknowledgement that it is acceptable for certainsegments of our society to languish in poverty while others thrive at their expense. Tipworkers in restaurants and other businesses, for example, have been excluded from anyincrease in the minimum wage, and any reasoning behind this is illegitimate, immoral andhumanely wrong. Consequently, we declare the announced N.Y.S. Budget deal an immoralbudget. We believe that our politicians owe those that they know are suffering among us andstruggling to feed their families a better opportunity to raise their heads above the prevailing economic flood waters and more fully participate in civil society.
 
2.The reality of the new governing coalition in the New York State Senate is proving to be ahorrific nightmare for the vast majority of the people’s of the State of New York. 27+ 5 stillequals 32. Had the more 'enlightened' Senate IDC negotiated and formed a governing coalition with the 'dysfunctional' Senate Democrats, instead of the 'obstructionist' SenateRepublicans, we'd have a $9/hr. minimum wage in NYS today on behalf of working familiesand the working poor. The same governing deal that was struck with the Republican leader,Sen. Dean Skelos, could've been struck with the State Senate Democratic Caucus, and theprogressive agenda would've been far further along. The Good Lord knows that State Senate
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Democrats would've agreed to terms in order to take over power in the New York StateSenate. The question becomes for all people of faith and good conscience, does this newgoverning coalition mean that the progressive agenda to lift and support those in poverty, theworking poor and the middle class in NYS will be continually obstructed and marginalized infavor of the rich as this new governing coalition endures? The people of God and consciencemake it abundantly clear that we do not have to accept 'HALF A LOAF' from self-serving politicians because we are not compelled to eat their IMMORAL BREAD.Here's a Word from God for our Governor and the New York State Senate leadership toconsider; “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouthof God". Our New York State government must DO and BE better on behalf of the people of the State. The New York State Senate IDC exists because of intractable personal squabbleswithin the Senate Democratic Caucus, squabbles that have now cost us a preferred deal on theminimum wage and that will result in further setbacks to the progressive agenda if there are notimmediate proactive steps taken to change it.
 
This proposed deal is a disservice to the working poor, our working families and all the people’s of the State of New York, and believe us, GOD is NOT PLEASED ....
The Clergy Campaign for Social &
 
Economic Justice
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