Families hoping for a minimum wage increase

Posted at 7:17 PM, Mar 31, 2016

Many Western New Yorkers are hoping state lawmakers will vote in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $12.50 in upstate.

One of those Western New Yorkers who’s backing the minimum wage increase is Carmen Rodriguez. She works part-time as a driver for Just Pizza in Buffalo. Rodriguez said she is making barely enough to pay all of her bills.

“It’s hard. When you see how much you’re working and you look at your paycheck and it’s not growing,” Rodriguez said.

Her 17-year-old daughter Tatiana Rivera got a job last year at Just Pizza just to help make ends meet.

“I help my mom a lot with her bills and she also makes less than minimum wage as a driver here,” Rivera said.

The general manager for Just Pizza, Joe Luzio is in support of an increase. However, he’s concerned that it could eventually lead to job cuts.

“I think it’s a good idea to raise minimum wage. I mean there still has to be guidelines. You can’t just go paying anything to work. They have to work up to it,” Luzio said.

This possible minimum wage increase could also impact some in the health care industry. One certified nursing assistant told 7 Eyewitness News that she is having to work double shifts just to make ends meet.

“I have to work like 80 hours a week in order to make ends meet. You know so I can pay my bills take care of my children,” Pamela Jefferson said.

Jefferson also said she doesn’t spend much time with her family, because she’s always working.

Most importantly Jefferson said it’s not fair to the patients. According to her the long and tiring hours a CNA has to work to make ends meet can result in them not delivering the quality care that patients deserve.

“I think CNA’s should make more than that. More than $12.50. It could be $14 or up you know at least it’ll be a start,” Jefferson said.