Legislative Update

Volume CV, No. 7/8July, 2005

Heather Beaudoin


Senators Clinton and Kennedy introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005 which will raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in three steps: 70 cents two months after enactment, 70 cents one year after enactment, and 70 cents two years after enactment. The increase will directly benefit more than 7 million workers, including 500,000 New Yorkers.

“It is our responsibility to do right by hardworking Americans by giving them the tools they need to be self sufficient. An increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. People who work hard and play by the rules should not live in poverty,” said Senator Clinton.

Congress last voted to increase the minimum wage to its current level of $5.15 an hour eight years ago. Nearly 36 million people currently live in poverty, 13 million of whom are children. Minimum wage employees working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year earn only $10,750 a year, which is $5,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.


The New York City Campaign Finance Board voted to delay until after the November elections new rules that would have put undue restrictions on financial contributions from labor unions.

After negotiations with the New York City Council, the board backed away from enforcing the rules it adopted in February that were intended to restrict labor’s ability to give separate contributions to the same candidate without exceeding the maximum contribution allowed by a single source. The rules declared that contributions from local chapters of a national union, for example, would be presumed to be from the same source even if there is no common legislative agenda or overlapping board members.

“The C.F.B. has done nothing more than create havoc in this important election year and seriously impede the ability of many union members to have a voice in the political process,” said Brian McLaughlin, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, in response to the CFB’s initial ruling. “We are grateful to the City Council for working to undo this slap to democracy.”

After November, the City Council intends on introducing legislation that would create a different test under which contributions from multiple groups would be counted together. The legislation is being led by Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Bill de Blasio and currently has 29 additional councilmembers that have signed on in support.