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Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC Endorses Living Wage Bill

May 2, 2011
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Quinn, City Council Told the Legislation Will Help LGBT New Yorkers

New York, New York—The Stonewall Democratic Club, the oldest and largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Democratic organization in New York City, announced today that it endorses the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, and has joined the Living Wage NYC Coalition to push for passage of the bill. The endorsement, secured by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Union (RWDSU), comes just days before a highly anticipated May 12 New York City Council hearing on this living wage legislation.

The full endorsement statement appears below, followed by comments from Joseph G. Hagelmann, III, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club, and Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals are among New York City’s most vulnerable citizens; many of us earn low‐income wages and struggle to make a decent living. Retail is one of the fastest growing low‐wage sectors of our economy, and many LGBT people work in this industry, earning wages that barely enable us to survive in this expensive city. Raising wages and job standards in the retail industry will undoubtedly improve life for LGBT New Yorkers. It should be noted that retailers often lease space in commercial properties that are part of economic development projects built with taxpayer money. Despite the billions of public dollars spent in the name of economic development and job creation, many members of the LGBT community have not been strengthened as a result.

The City of New York now has a great opportunity to use public policy to facilitate the creation of more living wage retail jobs. Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City proudly endorses the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. This legislation, which is supported by a majority of New York City Council’s members, would establish a living wage standard for retail jobs and other jobs created by companies that benefit from taxpayer‐funded economic development subsidies.

The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act would ensure that public money does not fund poverty‐wage jobs, and boosts job quality in the retail sector. Furthermore, Stonewall Democratic Club’s members are among the many thousands of New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds who have joined the Living Wage NYC campaign to push for passage of this crucial legislation. We urge New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to enact The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act into law.

“Most LGBT New Yorkers are not on the A-List,” said Joseph G. Hagelmann, III, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City. “Think about the Latina lesbian single mother from the Bronx who struggles to put food on the table and to keep a roof over her kids’ heads. There are probably a lot more New Yorkers who are just like her than you realize. We should support any legislation that would help improve the quality of life for those who cannot afford to have their voices heard.”

“We hope to convince all LGBT allies within the City Council that supporting this living wage legislation will benefit LGBT New Yorkers, particularly those who are low-wage retail workers,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU. “By helping to boost wages for low-income workers in the LGBT community, this legislation can play a major role in addressing problems like homelessness and hunger that affect some of the most economically vulnerable and marginalized LGBT New Yorkers.”