Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain, Berlin) braved the cold Friday with a group of low-wage workers and members of the Alliance to Make Work Pay in support of an increase to the minimum wage. As Vice-Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, Senator Gerratana spoke in support of the current proposal to increase Connecticut’s minimum wage and tie it to the cost of living.
“Many people making minimum wage in this state simply cannot afford to live and support their families,” said Senator Gerratana. “They have to work two or more jobs and still struggle just to get by. That is why I am proud to be here in support of so many of my constituents.”
Chili’s was chosen as the location of this rally due to their vehement opposition to any minimum wage increase. Chili’s is one of the 25 largest low-wage employers in the United States. The majority of their 86,000 person workforce makes the minimum wage and struggle to make ends meet. Employees at the 19 Chili’s restaurants in Connecticut earn a wage that puts them below the federal poverty line for a family of three, but Chili’s executives have been very outspoken against efforts to give their employees a raise. Protesters dispute Chili’s opposition to a minimum wage increase, pointing out that low-wage workers reliably spend the contents of their paycheck in the local economy. Any increase in compensation will be put directly back into their community, fueling growth in their neighborhoods.