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LAUNDRY DISTRIBUTION AND FOOD SERVICE JOINT BOARD

18 Washington Place, 2nd Floor Newark, NJ 07102 Tel: 973-735-6464 Fax: 973-735-6465

March 25, 2016

The Honorable Senator John J. Flanagan


260 Middle Country Road, Suite 102
Smithtown, NY 11787

Dear New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan:


We are writing today to express our outrage and frustration with how you are handling the debate
over raising New Yorks minimum wage from $9 to $15 per hour. We represent nearly 7,000
industrial laundry workers who play a vital role in our states economy and have been underpaid
for far too long.
About 70% of these laundry workers are Latina immigrants, and these women hold the lowestpaid positions, typically unskilled production jobs. They toil in factory-like conditions and put in
long hours for their employers who contract with hotels, hospitals, and restaurants to get their
linens cleaned.
These women are your constituents and your neighbors. The largest percentage of these laundry
workers live and work in Long Island and the New York City metro area. But instead of fighting
for low-wage immigrant women who are the backbone of our states economy, you are fighting
for the Republican Party to be the Party of Trump whose monstrous mantra is wages are too
high.
Its time for you to give up your crusade against economic fairness, and agree to support the
minimum wage hike to $15 per hour in the executive budget with no phase-in or carve outs.
All low-wage workers deserve a raise to $15 and they shouldnt have to wait years to receive it.
Your effort to float a six-year phase-in is clearly nothing more than a cynical face-saving
measure to placate your Republican allies who are desperate to hold onto their majority in the
State Senate.
Long Islands low-wage residents and workers are watching you closely, especially as a special
election in April to replace scandal-scarred Dean Skelos looms. They know you are putting
politics before the needs of families in your own backyard who are struggling to survive on
poverty wages.
History shows that the economic benefits of raising the minimum wage on a quick timeline are
broad and deep. Workers receive more money to spend on necessities, which immediately
stimulates the economy and drives job growth while lifting more households out of poverty. A

WILFREDO N. LARANCUENT, Manager

ALBERTO ARROYO, Secretary-Treasurer

LAUNDRY DISTRIBUTION AND FOOD SERVICE JOINT BOARD

18 Washington Place, 2nd Floor Newark, NJ 07102 Tel: 973-735-6464 Fax: 973-735-6465

stronger economy and more jobs boost businesses, enabling firms to hire more workers and
sustain higher wages over time.
We cannot continue to allow our state to become more unequal and stratified between the
wealthy elite and the working poor, who so often are people of color and immigrant women like
the thousands of industrial laundry workers we organize and represent. New Yorks lowest paid
workers deserve a real pay raise on a fast timeline, and our healthy, robust economy can easily
adjust to it.
Many of our immigrant grandparents including yoursworked hard and were given a fair shot
when they came here. Republicans like you should honor that tradition and support fast-tracking
the minimum wage to $15 to respect the dignity and labor of our most vulnerable immigrant
women.
The moment for you and all Republicans to do what is right for working people has arrived.
Seize it!
Sincerely,

Wilfredo Larancuent
Manager of the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board
Workers United/SEIU

WILFREDO N. LARANCUENT, Manager

ALBERTO ARROYO, Secretary-Treasurer