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Wage Rally hits LIRR sites

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This article first appeared in Newsday, written by Alfonso Castillo and Rachel Uda.

More than a dozen activists supporting a minimum wage hike in New York gathered at several Long Island Rail Road stations Monday, aiming to disrupt commutes and send a message to local Republican lawmakers.

The demonstrators, led by Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, rallied at the LIRR’s Garden City, Mineola and Hicksville stations during the morning rush — chanting “We believe that we can win!” and holding signs with messages including “All workers deserve a living wage.”

“We’re here to send a strong message to the senators here on Long Island that Long Island needs $15, New York needs $15,” said Rachel Ackoff, senior national organizer at Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, which has launched a “#JewsFor15” social media campaign. “People of faith care. It’s not just an economic crisis. It’s a moral crisis.”

Protesters urged commuters to contact their elected state senators, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Labor Committee members Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay), and ask them to support a proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $9.

Representatives for Flanagan, Hannon, Martins and Marcellino did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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