Posted at: 10/01/2013 5:14 PM
| Updated at: 10/01/2013 5:44 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
GLENS FALLS - The 37 employees of Rock Hill Bakehouse are paid well. They get well above the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Even the wait staff who gets tips, is paid more than double the minimum wage.
Owner Matt Funicello insists on it.
"On a mercenary level, I wouldn't have good people working for me if I was paying them 7.25," said Funicello Tuesday.
Funicello thinks all Americans making minimum wage should be given a raise. He was one of several people taking part in a morning rally to support an increase in the minimum wage.
It's goal: to raise public awareness and get the attention of Congressman Bill Owens.
They want Owens to support a current bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to 10.50 an hour from the current 7.25 an hour. Using ketchup bottles as symbol to encourage the government to catch up with the times.
"There are 30-million Americans making $7.25 an hour. That's barely over 13-thousand dollars a year. That's not enough to live on," said Peter LaVenia of Time for a Raise.org.
Organizers were disappointed to find no one staffing the congressman's office Tuesday. A sign on the door telling visitors that the staff is temporarily furloughed and unable to respond.
But they aren't letting the shutdown slow them down. LaVenia shared a petition with Congressman Owens seeking his support.
But Owens told NewsChannel by phone Tuesday afternoon that he backs the President's plan to increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour with a 1 to 2 percent increase each year, with a credit for small businesses.
"I'm going to stick with the President for now," said Owens, D - Plattsburgh.
So, at Rock Hill Bakehouse, Matt Funicello, is going to keep paying his staff well above what the government mandates. He says he wouldn't be able to sleep at night if he didn't.
"I need to pay people what it actually costs to live."
Funicello and others are encouraging Congressman Owens to hold Town Hall Meetings across his district to hear from residents about the notion of increasing the minimum wage.