During an appearance Monday at United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 328, Governor Gina Raimondo called on the General Assembly to raise Rhode Island's $9 minimum wage to $10.10, effective in January.
"What we're here today to talk about is a concrete way that we can spark the comeback of Rhode Island and Rhode Island's economy, by putting money in the pockets of hardworking Rhode Islanders," Raimondo said, speaking before a group of union members. "That's what today is about."
State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable to discuss the arrest this week of State Representative Joseph Almeida (D-Providence); Shekarchi's ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello; the proliferation of tax-cut proposals at the General Assembly this year; and the outlook for a hike in the minimum wage.
Four Providence hotel workers and one Central Falls City Councilor have announced plans to go on a hunger strike to protest a provision in the Rhode Island budget regarding minimum wage.
The workers plan to camp in tents outside the Statehouse and refuse to eat until their demand is met. They want cities and towns to be able to determine their own minimum wage. Last week, the Providence City Council decided to put raising the minimum wage for hotel workers on the ballot in November.
Cranston Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung, along with fellow Republican candidate Ken Block, says now is not the time to raise the state minimum wage. The two Democratic candidates disagree.
Yesterday, fast food restaurant workers and their supporters went on strike around the country, including here in Rhode Island. Their demand: $15 an hour instead of the minimum wage (which will be $8 in January here in RI).
Organized labor has been beset in recent years with declining membership in the private sector and a corresponding drop in clout at the Rhode Island Statehouse. Unions have taken their lumps recently, but there were signs of a rebound during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.
Labor did not get nearly everything it wanted; building trades union leaders are unhappy that lawmakers did not approve requiring construction firms bidding on state projects worth $1 million or more to have a union apprenticeship program.
The attorney for the former head of an agency that allegedly had disabled people working for less than minimum wage maintains his client did nothing wrong.
John Cicilline says he has received paperwork from the U.S. Justice Department relating to John Capobianco, Sr. and his nonprofit company Training Through Placement, but he said yesterday he had not yet had time to review it.