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Supporters of higher minimum wage rally in Hartford

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published May 01. 2013 3:00PM   Updated May 01. 2013 4:06PM

Hartford – Legislators and members of the Connecticut Council of Clergy rallied outside the state Capitol Wednesday in support of the bill would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour from $8.25 on Jan. 1, 2014 and to $9.75 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015.

Senate Bill 387 also proposes to increase the minimum wage annually based on increases in the Consumer Price Index starting in 2016.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also attended and spoke at the rally but said he is supporting a different minimum wage increase plan. Malloy wants a two-step minimum wage increase to $9 an hour from $8.25 an hour. "What I have endorsed and what I fully support and what I fully intend to sign is a two-step process to getting to $9, a number that has been recommended by the president, one that I can certainly embrace."

The bill went from the Senate floor Wednesday to the Appropriations Committee for further review.

One supporter, Senate Majority Leader, Martin Looney, D-New Haven said, "When you realize that in our society that high-paid corporate CEOs are making the equivalent of $1,000 an hour for a 40-hour work week and making $2 million a year, it is unconscionable that people are being asked to sell their hour for $8.25 an hour."

Many people work several minimum wage jobs and work long hours at the minimal compensation, Looney said.

"We need to recognize that as the hard work, the vital work that it is in our state, and work hard to enact this bill," Looney said.

Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, has also been one of the main supporters of the bill and attended the rally.

Last week Osten said she welcomed Malloy's support for an increase in the state's minimum wage.

"It's a good start, and it opens up the discussion," Osten said.

State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, and Rep. Emmett Riley, D-Norwich, also attended the rally. Co-sponsors of the bill include state Rep. Kevin Ryan, D-Oakdale, and state Rep. Ernest Hewett, D-New London.

The rally drew about 20 people.

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