March 7, 2019

Senator Abrams Emphasizes Need for Minimum Wage Increase

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Mary Abrams (D- Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) sat with Lynnette Dockery, a Meriden home caregiver, in support of legislation that seeks to increase the state minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 represents an opportunity to help countless workers, bolster the state economy and boost wages that have been outpaced by inflation for years.

The Labor and Public Employees Committee on Thursday discussed Senate Bill No. 2, “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” in a public hearing, with dozens of individuals coming to the Capitol from all around the state in support. Among them was Dockery, who Sen. Abrams ceded her speaking time to on Thursday. Dockery, who has been working in home caregiving since 1980, said she joined the industry after seeing the care her own grandmother received when she was ill. While Dockery loves working with her patients, and is happy to provide their families with relief, she said an increase in the minimum wage would make her life easier – one of her two jobs pays just $11 per hour.

“If I was making $15 an hour from both of my jobs, it would give me an opportunity to better myself,” Dockery said. “I am a single parent. I have a son who just recently started college. I want a better life for my son, so I have always worked two or three jobs. I am wanting and hoping we can all come to terms and vote on this bill to raise the minimum wage across the board for everyone. I could do more in my life. I could be a better person. Other people are struggling every day, working check-to-check, trying to pay their bills, deciding if they’re going to buy food or if they can pay this bill this week. I want to give the best – 110 percent of myself – and I hope one day when my care comes, I will get the dignity and respect I give my patients.”

The Economic Policy Institute found that the typical worker who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage is a 35-year-old woman working full time. More than half of beneficiaries would be adults between the ages of 25 and 54, of which three-fifths work full time.

“The minimum wage has, for years, lagged behind the cost of inflation, and it’s incredibly hard to support one person on, much less a family. Yet that’s the reality for far too many families in Connecticut today,” said Sen. Abrams. “This legislation is common-sense, and would install this wage increase over the course of three years, allowing businesses to adapt. Every year, thousands of workers across the state will receive additional financial support that could represent up to a 33 percent raise from the current minimum wage of $10.10. That will have a long-term effect that benefits our state economy through their additional spending. We have a chance to support so many people, like Lynnette, who work hard and deserve a fair wage.”

Caption: Lynnette Dockery, a Meriden home caregiver, testifies in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 as State Senator Mary Abrams sits alongside her.