Brian Pugh: Honor Labor Day with Principled Policies

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped
As we prepare for the Labor Day weekend, it seems appropriate to the reflect on our community’s labor standards.
“It seems to me..plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By “business” I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living,” said President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933.
Yet the Village of Croton falls far short of this standard. At the start of this year, the NYS minimum wage increased to $10 (and will now gradually rise to $15/hour by 2021).  The Village of Croton, as a local government is not required to pay the state minimum wage due to a loophole in state labor law.   
Virtually every other employer in our Village is required to pay the NYS minimum wage. And almost every parent I know pays their sitters well in excess of the $10 state minimum wage. 
The some $13,000 needed to raise wages for Village seasonal workers to $10/hour is less than the cost of the recent raises for departments heads and de minimis compared to our overall $19M budget.
The administration has made it clear that as a matter of principle they believe in paying camp counselors and other seasonal workers less than the $10/hour state minimum wage.  
This is not a question of cost, but of values: Aren’t the seasonal Village workers, who are largely from our own community, deserving of better than this?   
Brian Pugh

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