Hawkins, Jones, Jimenez Call for a Green New Deal on Labor Day
$15 Minimum Wage, A Guaranteed Job, Health Care for All, Organizing Rights
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said that as Governor he would unilaterally raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour. “The raise will inject billions of dollars into the purchasing power of the state’s working class. That would be far more effective in stimulating the state’s economy than Governor Cuomo squandering public money on tax breaks for big business and the rich,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins also said that the state should guarantee every New Yorker a living wage job. He would create a public works program, as well as investing in transitioning the state’s energy system to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. A peer-reviewed study in the journal Energy Policy projects that such an energy program would create 4.5 million jobs. Jobs and training would be guaranteed to existing current workers in the fossil fuel and nuclear industries.
“If the private sector can’t provide a decent job to everyone who needs one, the public sector will. Rather than an unemployment office, we will have an employment office that provides jobs,” added Hawkins.
Hawkins said he would include tip workers in the wage hike. He has faulted Governor Cuomo for refusing for more than a year to convene a minimum wage board to administratively raise the state minimum wage after being directed by state lawmakers to do so after when food tip workers were excluded from last year’s hike. When the Moreland Commission expose ran in the New York Times, Cuomo hurriedly issued a release the next day saying he would convene the Board but still has not done so.
The Green Party candidates for Lt. Governor, Brian Jones, and Attorney General, Ramon Jimenez, will march in the West Indies Parade on Labor Day in NYC. Hawkins marched Friday night in the Rochester Labor Day parade. On Labor Day, Hawkins will march at 10:30 a.m. with his own union, Teamsters Local 317, in the Labor Day Parade at the State Fair near Syracuse. He will then go to Albany for the afternoon where he will join the Green candidate for Comptroller, Theresa Portelli at Labor Day Picnic sponsored by the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District in CookPark in Colonie.
Brian Jones, the former school teacher from NYC running as the Green Lt. Governor candidate, said the Hawkins/Jones ticket would expand the right of workers to organize into unions. He said the campaign supported extending majority card-check recognition and continuing the Scaffold Safety Law to protect worker safety. And while the campaign supports the right of public workers to strike, it would maintain the Triborough Amendment, which extends existing contracts when they end if there is not an agreement.
Hawkins has been a long time advocate for the Farmworker Bill of Rights as well as pay equity.
“The 1% owns two parties. Working people need one of our own. The Green Party gubernatorial ticket is a working Teamster and a union Teacher. We are as committed to organizing an independent working people’s party as we are to the pro-labor policies in our platform. Our Green New Deal for New York stands for the economic bill of rights that President Franklin Roosevelt called for in his 1944 State of the Union address. The two-corporate-parties system has achieved none of these rights in 70 years,” said Hawkins.
The Green New Deal would also make health care a right, providing health care to all state residents with no co-pays, deductibles or premiums. A study commissioned by the state several years ago found that a state single-payer Medicare for All program would reduce overall health care costs by $28 billion a year by 2019 compared to the insurance mandates of Obama care. Health care costs are often the main point of contention in labor contracts.