The Dryden Town Board, by a unanimous 5-0 vote, has called on the Tompkins County Legislature to move toward establishing the Living Wage as the Minimum Wage for all employees working within the county borders. The vote took place at the Dryden Town Board meeting on Thursday, April 21st.
The Town of Dryden is the fourth local government body to heed the call of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC) which has been organizing to mandate the county’s Living Wage of $14.34 as the new Minimum Wage. Both the Town and the City of Ithaca as well as the Town of Caroline previously also voted to also endorse a County Living Wage. Together these locales who support this measure comprise approximately 67% of the County’s population.
“A lot of the work I do in my law practice is to work with the working poor”, said Jason Leifer, Dryden Town Supervisor. “There are many people working 30-40 hours a week and they are not able to meet their family’s needs and they’re still getting services from the County. The current minimum wage enables big companies to get away with not paying people what they should and the public side has to make up the difference. Had I grown up in Dryden, I would’ve been one of the 46% that received free and reduced lunch in the Dryden Central School District.”
Said Dryden Town Board Member, Deborah Cipolla-Dennis: “There’s a large amount of children in Dryden that qualify for free and reduced lunch and that has continued to go up. When we have a really low minimum wage that puts quite a burden on government and requires additional services to people so that they can just meet their basic needs. I think that increasing the minimum wage is good for all of us and will help to relieve school, town and county taxes as well.”
Dan Lamb, Dryden Deputy Town Supervisor, had this to say: “The minimum wage has NEVER been enough. What I like about what the Workers’ Center is doing here is that you’re redefining the concept of what people should be paid, and it should be a Living Wage