A years-long movement to require all employers in Tompkins County to pay a living wage took a small step forward last week. The Ithaca Voice is reporting that a working group exploring the feasibility of a county-wide increase to the minimum wage made a presentation to the Tompkins County Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Though the group has not reached a consensus position on the increase’s feasibility, there were signs that a growing majority of local employers support the idea. Working group members Ian Greer and Shaianne Osterreich reported that in 2021 78 percent of employers surveyed supported living wage legislation, up from 63 percent in 2019. County Legislators Veronica Pilar and Anne Koreman support the proposal. Koreman noted that given recent rises in the cost of living, the time to move ahead with living wage legislation is now.
In other labor news, as of Saturday, local Starbucks workers remained on strike. According to the Ithaca Voice, workers are alleging union busting as their organizers are being targeted and fired. On Thursday Kayli Gillett, an organizer with Starbucks Workers United, was fired for being late. Union Rep Jaz Brisack said that Starbucks is typically lenient with employees who are late–unless they are union members. Earlier in August, a Judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate seven fired barista’s in Memphis who are members of the union’s organizing committee.
And prospective marijuana sellers with prior pot convictions have a month to apply for licenses to open dispensaries in New York. According to the Times Union, the State opened its application portal on Thursday. The application process is meant to be accessible and the awarding of licenses is meant to restore justice for low-income communities and people of color who were disproportionately affected by marijuana prosecution. The State is granting up to 150 two-year provisional dispensary licenses and each of fourteen regions is being allotted licenses based on population. The Southern Tier is expected to net only three such dispensaries.
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