« Labor Triumphant | Main | Conservatives Quake At Clinton Speech »

July 28, 2004

NY Min Wage to go to $7.15/hr

The GOP-controlled Senate in New York state, following a massive grassroots campaign, has agreed with the Dem-led state assembly to raise the state minimum wage to $7.15 over the next few years.

The campaign was led by the Working Families Party-- a third party usually allied with the Democrats-- which targetted vulnerable Republican state Senators to force a vote on the popular issues.

As this article by veteran journalist Jack Newfield argues, the victory heralds a new political order in New York state where the rightwing Conservative Party has been marginalized, the oldline patronage-based "Liberal" Party has been destroyed, and the Working Families Party has emerged as the new force in the state:

The issue-oriented Minimum Wage Campaign that has energized the WFP, and unions like CWA and 1199 has brought to the surface this important fracture among conservatives.
The WFP conducted an authentic, old-fashioned grassroots organizing campaign on behalf of raising the minimum wage. Last Thursday night, party activists visited 5,000 homes in swing districts on this issue. The WFP invested almost all of the $220,000 it raised at a spring fund-raiser in hiring organizers...

Now the WFP has emerged as a new force in state politics, the Conservative Party has marginalized itself, and 700,000 working stiffs will have a slightly better life.
To the egalitarians, this is the equivalent of a triple play.

For wayward Naderites and Greens, the Working Families Party shows the way to create independent politics that achieves power, without building power for and throwing elections to the rightwing.

And the result is a massive boost in income for the working poor.

Posted by Nathan at July 28, 2004 08:49 AM