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By Adina Genn
Long Island Business News, March 13, 2023

A coalition is fighting to increase the minimum wage for New Yorkers to $21.25 by 2026. Members of the Raise UP NY coalition held a press conference in Uniondale last week, urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage. Advocates say that on Long Island it should be raised by 2026, and then adjusted automatically each year to keep up with not only rising costs of living but also gains in worker productivity..

“The current minimum wage doesn’t reflect the cost of living,” Deepti Brambl, CEO of Floral Park-based Kaylaan, a provider of oral care products, said in a statement.

The effort comes amid rising costs, where people, especially those earning minimum wage, struggle to make ends meet. Right now the minimum wage is $15 an hour on Long Island when it was raised in 2021 to match the wage already set in New York City. ... But with what advocates say is a cost-of-living crisis, the Raise the Wage Act (S1978A and A2204A) would help both workers and businesses alike. ...

“We’ve seen firsthand the benefits of paying higher wages,” Brambl said. “People want to work for us, and higher retention saves us a lot of money and time that would otherwise go to hiring and training new people. Our employees are more efficient and productive, and they help our business grow.” ...

"Prices have increased but the minimum wage has not kept up. I see people going into supermarkets, and they go back out the door because they can’t afford things,” Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “We can’t sustain a viable economy this way. Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, which is important for workers and businesses.”

And supporters say the increase helps the economy.

“When we raise the minimum wage, that money goes right back into the economy as spending,” Bramble said. “It’s a positive cycle that lifts up working people and businesses like mine. And it also strengthens the tax base.”

Andrews said there is a “strong connection between employee pay and employee retention. More experienced, better trained employees deliver better customer service and improve your business. Raising and indexing the minimum wage will help Long Island’s economic development.”

Last week, Andrews and Brambl were joined by representatives from such organizations as Terracotta Flowers, Arch Fiberglass Corp, Strugatz Ventures, Blessed Hands Hair Salon and Barber Shop, Cinema Arts Centre and more. They stood together with New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. ...

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