Union and worker organizations rally on the Commons for an increase to the minimum wage

Armed with signs and chants like "the people united will never be defeated," about 100 people gathered Tuesday on Ithaca Commons to rally for an increase in the minimum wage.

The 43rd annual UALE (United Association for Labor Education) Northeast Regional Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations held the rally in conjunction with the Tompkins County Workers Center and Cornell Graduate Students United.

The UALE is an international association based in Chicago that had its residential program hosted this year by the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

The rally took place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons. A majority of those in attendance were women.

People at the rally to increase the minimum wage said
People at the rally to increase the minimum wage said a variety of chants, including "Let Tompkins live." (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)

"My brothers and sisters, people are struggling to pay for basic living expenses — rent, groceries, health care and other necessities. People are no longer living paycheck to paycheck. They can't even afford to make it through the week," said Valerie King, a speaker from the summer school. "I have personally seen people make choices to live without heat and utilities simply because they cannot afford it. What do we do about this? This is injustice."

The minimum wage for upstate New York is $10.40 an hour.

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