WPCNR DAILY SUN. Special to WPCNR By E. Hezi, The Yonkers Tribune. October 8, 2002:The monotonous internal clock
ticked toward 6:30 P.M. last night, yet the rally called for by the
Worker Families Party had not yet formed, when a contingent of
healthcare workers of Service Employee International Union (SEIU) of
Union 1199 of Hudson Valley, ignited the crowd into a welcome cheer.
Clad in crisp purple colored T-shirts emblazoned with gold lettering,
the healthcare workers increased the attendance of respondents to over fifty energized and determined people who engulfed the entranceway of the 148 Martine Avenue office building.
The participants came to beseech Westchester County Legislators to sign their pledge: “I pledge to support the living wage because I believe all workers should be allowed to live in dignity. The workers, their families and all of Westchester deserve a living wage.”
Debra Smith, Westchester Family Services employee alighted the steps to the entranceway and when reaching the platform before the actual entranceway into the building addressed the crowd in order to “introduce my favorite County Legislator, Andrea Stewart-Cousins,” to the spontaneous applause of those present.
Westchester County Legislator Andrea Stewart-Cousins praised the crowd for their righteous and committed struggle to have legislation passed to witness their over one-year effort for the “Living Wage,” and pledged her passionate resolve upon their behalf. The crowd seemed to hang onto every word she uttered in her brief appearance, as she was required to return to the continuing caucus in session prior to the formal meeting of the Westchester County Legislators that night. Taking a “magic-marker like” pen to the oversized 36 inches by 64 inches “pledge” written on contact paper, Ms. Stewart-Cousins became the first to sign the pledge.
Latimer Supports Bill.
Fellow Westchester County Legislator George Latimer also came from on-going caucus discussions to briefly address the crowd stating, “What you are expressing and demonstrating for is right. I hope to celebrate victory with you in the near future.” Mr. George Latimer also signed the pledge.
Seven Seen Sign
One by one, Westchester County Legislators extracted themselves from caucus discussion to address the rally and to append their names to “the pledge” of support. In no specific order, but rather a listing of undersigners, the following committed their signatures: Westchester County Legislators Richard G. Wishnie, Thomas Abinanti, Bill Ryan, Martin Ragowsky, Jose Alvarado. (The reader must be fully aware that this reporter had to depart the rally before other Westchester County Legislators could be seen to append their signatures to “the pledge” yet I was not there to witness it. In all, this reporter was witness to the first seven signatories.)
Assemblyperson Pre-Elect Signs.
Adam Bradley helped to victory by the efforts of the Workers Family Party made a specific effort to praise the crowd and to hear him pledge his continued effort upon their behalf. He too, was called to a previous function in Mt. Kisco. His name was appended to those signatories
This reporter departed the rally for the Westchester County Legislators’
meeting called for 7:00 P.M.
The Living Wage Bill Endorsed by the SEIU would require that contractors with Westchester County on jobs of $25,000 or more would have to pay workers $11.50 an hour with health benefits or $13 an hour without health benefits. The law would also include businesses receiving county tax abatements, loans and aid over $25,000.