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May 6, 2015 - 1:40pm

Hawley: Minimum wage hike kills jobs, burdens business

posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on last night’s passage of legislation to increase the minimum wage. Hawley said the legislation is misguided and does not improve the already suffocating business climate that New York has perpetuated in past years. The 2015-16 State Budget provides no tax or regulatory relief for small businesses or the middle class.  

“As the owner of small businesses for over four decades, I know the struggles of operating in New York’s tax and fine environment,” Hawley said. “I voted against a minimum wage increase because when businesses are legally obligated to pay their employees more, they are therefore able to hire less employees and therefore create less jobs. A more viable option to help taxpayers would be a widespread middle class tax cut, something the Assembly Majority again failed to include in this year’s budget. My district is heavily agriculturally based and a minimum wage hike would jeopardize the ability of farming operations to hire additional employees, especially on an hourly basis. I will continue to support my district’s business interests and alternatives exist that would address the root problem of high taxes and regulations that is hindering our middle class and business community.   

“Furthermore, this bill raises the minimum wage to a much higher rate in New York, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties than the rest of New York State. This is another piece of evidence highlighting the growing disparity between Upstate and Downstate and why we should allow the public to decide if they would support a division of New York into two separate states by passing my legislation, Assembly Bill 4167. New Yorkers deserve this choice now more than ever considering Downstate interests dominate our legislature while the social and economic concerns of millions of Upstate New Yorkers are ignored.”

Hawley is the owner of an insurance agency based in Batavia and the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms. He is a current member of the Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends and has voted with pro-business groups such as the Business Council and Unshackle Upstate the vast majority of his time in the legislature.

Joseph Guza
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Not a huge surprise that business owners don't want to pay higher wages. Of course, the bill still hasn't passed the Senate. If the legislature fails to pass the bill, employees still have a better alternative that has been protected by federal legislation for 80 years - organize and unionize:

http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/employee-rights

Raymond Richardson
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"employees still have a better alternative - organize and unionize"

I have to disagree on unionization, especially in private sector jobs.

Increase the wages, so employees can turn a large portion of the increase over to a union, that really doesn't provide much to the members, would take away any spending power for those employees.

I was a member of a union for several years, and all the union reps did was talk a lot of smack, especially weeks prior to our route selection process, and always interrupted the process each August for no legitimate reason at all other than because they could challenge it.

When some members really needed our union, the union abandoned them.

Don Hawkins
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Steve, I applaud your position regarding the passage of minimum wage legislation. It is misguided, as you stated, and does nothing to further general employment, especially in agricultural communities. Thank you for your sound judgment.

Joseph Guza
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There are good Unions and not-so-good Unions, Raymond. The great thing, though, is you don't have to affiliate with an already established Union, though there may be advantages to that. Employees can organize themselves and form their own independent Unions under the law. In fact the whole concept of a Union at the beginning was employees coming together to increase their bargaining power (you have no bargaining power as an individual employee (exceptions for executives and some professionals)).

I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in a Union - you're certainly not alone.

My point in saying that organizing is a better alternative to raising the minimum wage increase is not to denigrate the minimum wage - I believe it's essential and that increasing it is essential to economic justice. My point is that this legislation can't replace the power that Unions - at their best - give working people. At the end of the day, (and again, at their best) unionization forces employers to share power with the workers - something we see very little of today.

Your comment regarding union dues and unions not providing anything for the members is pretty fact specific. There are many union members who can tell a different story. Be careful not to over-generalize from the specific.

Have a good one, Raymond. And thanks for your support regarding the minimum wage increase.

Robert Bombard
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Minimum wage is already on a up hill course that we should not disturb and as of Dec. 2015 the minimum wage will be $ 9.00. I think legislation may want to look at how other states let large city/county's(of certain #of people) make there own minimum wage separate from the rest of the state. I know theirs a name for it just cant think of it.

Back in March i went with other Union reps to Albany to lobby on issues.
And i had an issue in supporting $15 an hour. I spoke with many of my union brothers and sisters from down state, They just dont get it!!! NYFD is UAW i had few drinks with the local president,they are 2500 members strong. He had an issue grasping the concept of vol. firemen. He believed they all should be full time and payed. my argument was sometimes the calls for some vol. are "far and few apart" and it would hard to have state mandated to pay all firemen. But this just one example of how different upstate is different from down state.
Another thing is are property tax on avg. is $34 per thousand in all of North Carolina its $3 per thousand in the crap parts and the most luxurious its only $10 per thousand. Batavia isnt that special, why so high (o'yea dam downstate) Im with Steve Hawley support bill 4167

Kyle Slocum
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Membership in a union as a condition of employment is slavery. Why must you pay money to an organization that will use your money to support politicians and a party you personally contribute your hard earned money to fight against as a condition of having your job?

Unions today are simply funding organs for the democrat party and the elites in the "union industry". An industry that has its own issues http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7202770

Minimum wage is a scam. The only people who benefit from it are the politicians that scam people into voting for them claiming that their now jobless selves are better off because they were priced out of the labor market by the benevolent politician...

Joseph Guza
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Kyle - you sound like a man that doesn't know much about unions or your rights within a union. The majority of union dues go to run the union, which, if it's doing its job, enforces the collective bargaining agreement through which a union members wages, benefits and other conditions of employment.

A small amount of union dues goes to political ends. If you object to contributing to the union's political causes, you can become what's called a Beck objector. Beck injector still have to pay dues, but are relieved from paying the percentage of dues that go to the union's political funds.

Again, as I said above, the point of the union is workers coming together to increase their bargaining power. Everyone contributes dues to the union because employees all benefit from the representation and the terms and conditions negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement. Of course, some unions do a better job than others. But even then, union elections are usually held every here or four years, so there's opportunities for changes in leadership.

So now you know a little more about unions, and hopefully you won't go around speaking nonsense like "paying union dues is like slavery." To think that one can benefit from the work of others and not contribute at all really is indicative of a kind of extreme selfish individualism that, in the end, cannot sustain a community, let alone a nation.

At any rate, my apologies if you meant to say something else and I misunderstood.

Howard B. Owens
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No name calling. (a post was deleted)

Kyle Couchman
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Hmmmm United Auto Workers Unions did well for autoworkers. Look at the stability and growth of Detroit, Sometimes intent fails miserably Mr. Guza.

Robert Bombard
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id like to apologize Howard, i tend to get frustrated when misinformed people comment on thing they don't understand!

Joseph Guza
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So what's your constructive solution, Kyle? Forget the power organizing into a union can bring to working people? Bow down to our "benevolent" corporate masters? Offer something constructive and/or lay your cards on the table. Also, it would be helpful to state your opinions clearly. So you're claiming that the sole reason for Detroit's current state is somehow the fault of the UAW? That's a bit bold, to say the least. If you're anti-union because of your political beliefs or some other ideological reason, just come out and say it. But don't justify your opinion regarding Unions on a simplified version of a complex facts. I should qualify that last point - you can justify your opinion to yourself any way you like. But you're not going to get away justifying your opinions on such weak grounds to others. My apologies if I missed your point.

Howard B. Owens
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Unionism is a complicated issue in this country.

As a matter of basic rights, and rights protected by the Constitution, people have an unalienable right to free association. It's absolutely the right of workers to band together and collectively bargain.

However, fair and equitable negotiations can only take place in an environment free of government intervention. When laws tilt power to unionism and inhibit the ability of companies to protect themselves from onerous demands, unions become uncontrollable and tip the balance of power to the union rather than allowing for fair and equitable negotiations. As a result, you get Detroit. You get jobs shipped overseas. You get higher prices.

Yes, union supporters have a point about unfettered business owners, especially in the era of publicly traded companies where shareholders demand returns often unreasonable in a balanced market that can lead and has led to companies exploiting workers.

I don't know how we get there, but there needs to be a true market solution where workers can freely and fairly negotiate collectively for fair wages and equitable treatment but shop owners can be protected from unreasonable demands and retain and grow profits.

Joseph Guza
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Howard, I think a lot of what you say might make sense if the law was tipped in favor of Unions. But that hasn't been the case since before 1947, when the Taft-Hartley Act was passed to basically eliminate labor's most effective organizing tactics. It's true that Taft-Hartley was passed in reaction to Union abuses of power and the infiltration of certain Unions by the mafia. However, the Act went too far in essentially singling out labor speech from all other speech and restricting it - in my opinion, in violation of the First Amendment. That Taft-Hartley and other anti-union legal developments have been effective is demonstrated by the current private sector Union density of 6.6% (see http://www.wsj.com/articles/membership-rate-falls-for-u-s-unions-in-2014...).

Then there's the difficulty in trying to define what a "reasonable" or "unreasonable" or an "onerous" demand is. There are extremes that may be easily identifiable, but there's no objective way to solve that problem - you fall on one side or the other.

In my view, working people would be better off if Unions were less regulated. Give them the freedom to organize and use economic pressure freely in an open market. Then if they lose, it can't be for lack of trying. Right now Unions are too hamstrung from excessive regulation themselves.

Of course, for most of the history of this country, the owners have held the purse strings and the power, so it's not surprising that Unions are so regulated. I'll also be the first to admit that the labor movement has often contributed to its decline, whether through abuses of power in the 40's/50's or through its decision to spend more money on political campaigns than organizing.

At any rate, I agree with your that the playing field should be more balanced, but I think right now its almost completely tipped against the workers.

Mark Potwora
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Here is a guy Steve Hawley who get 15.000 dollars a year just for travel worrying about mininum wage..

state Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, received $14,487 in 2013, $15,429 in 2014 and $7,391 for the first quarter for 2015, according to the comptroller’s report.

Paying someone for traveling to albany 15,000 dollars a year on top of 80,000 dollars a year base pay it what is killing jobs in new york state.. ....

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