Gov. Ned Lamont channels Joe Biden: “This is a big…deal.” He is flanked by a smiling Sen. Julie Kushner and a nonplussed Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
Gov. Ned Lamont went to a Hartford nursing home on May 28, to sign a copy of legislation raising the $10.10 minimum wage in five steps to $15, a moment of celebration and solidarity with labor progressives for a Democratic governor now blocking final passage of another labor priority, a paid family and medical leave bill.
The first minimum wage bill to reach a Connecticut governor’s desk in five years, the measure was guided through the General Assembly by two women, Democratic Rep. Robyn Porter and Sen. Julie Kushner. Each had repeatedly reminded their colleagues that the typical minimum-wage earner in the state is female, black or brown, and often an immigrant.
But the signing of only the fourth bill to reach Lamont’s desk and the first to merit a signing ceremony outside the State Capitol was not without its awkward moments, reminders of Lamont’s diffidence to political stagecraft — and the fact he was celebrating with progressives furious over his 11th-hour threat to veto family leave over how the program would be administered.
The celebration was staged at the Parkville Care Center, a unionized nursing home that just struck a deal with an SEIU affiliate, District 1199. The governor’s staff was unaware that under different ownership and a different name, the facility was the scene of one of nation’s deadliest nursing home fires in 2003, an arson set by a disturbed patient that killed 16.
Workers from nursing homes and the fast-food industry were recruited by organizers to become voices of a movement, as was A.J. Johnson. The charismatic pastor of Urban Hope Refuge Church, Johnson said the minimum-wage campaign was central to his…TO READ MORE CLICK HERE