Dozens who gathered at the Parkville Care Center in Hartford chanted as Governor Ned Lamont signed into law the bill which will raise Connecticut’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years.
“What do we want?” “15!” chanted the crowd during the signing. “When do we get it?” “Now!”
A cause for celebration among those who said this was six years in the making.
“I believe that we will win,” was another chant led by Pastor AJ Johnson of the Urban Hope Refuge Pentecostal Church.
Supporters of the raise, which will start with $11 an hour this October and go up a dollar a year until it reaches $15 on October 15, 2023, said workers need a living wage.
“This is for the future, for your children, for your children’s grandchildren,” said fast food worker Angel “A.J.” Candelario.
Those gathered for the bill signing said there are 332,000 low-wage workers in the state. 60 percent are women and many of them are heads of household.
“We want strong communities? Strong families is where we start,” said State Representative Robyn Porter.
She was a single mom herself supporting two kids while working three jobs, and she said this law will affect lives.
“You’re talking a meal,” said Rep Porter. “You’re talking a utility bill. You’re talking a pair of shoes for the child. You’re talking a school trip.”
“Getting to 15 has been a fight,” said Rob Baril, President of District 1199.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses said a $15 minimum wage will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs because of the increase in labor costs for small businesses.
“They must increase pay for existing employees who make just over the minimum to maintain morale and productivity,” said Andrew Markowski, state director of NFIB in Connecticut. “The only choice is to cut entry-level jobs and cut hours.”
CareCentrix, which owns the Parkville Care Center, raised the minimum wage for its workers to $15 hour five years ago, and the CEO said it has made a difference.
“I’m happy to tell you that since we made that decision we doubled the revenue of our company,” said Lazier Kornwasser, President & CEO of CareCentrix.
He said his company has also more than doubled the number of employees it has in Connecticut.
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