Utica residents say a minimum wage deal being negotiated in Albany that would have a slower phase-in to $15 for Upstate, or a lower minimum wage upstate than downstate, is unacceptable.

A coalition of community, labor and public interest group says central New York workers can't survive on poverty wages.

“A $15 an hour minimum wage would boost the economy and put people on a path out of poverty,” said John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.  “Our state legislators need to make sure Upstate New York – the people they represent here in Utica – don’t get left out of this historic legislation.”

Furman says a study that concludes that "phasing in the minimum wage increase over 6 years to 2021 for the upstate areas as opposed to 3 years for downstate provides ample time for upstate businesses whose wage levels generally are 5% to 10% lower than downstate to adjust to the higher wage floor.

The group is calling on Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi to stand with upstate workers and pass a $15 minimum wage statewide.

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