Lawmakers fail to vote on minimum-wage hike

Lawmakers did not vote this year to increase Connecticut's minimum wage despite a strongly worded letter from the leader of the state's largest labor organization.

Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, of Berlin, said there didn't appear to be enough time or support to pass the legislation before Wednesday's midnight adjournment. Lawmakers originally proposed increasing the $10.10-an-hour wage to $15 by 2021.

"It has become the victim of the clock," he said.

Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, sent the four Democratic legislative leaders a letter on May 3, stating the AFL-CIO is "disheartened" by the Democrats' "lack of action on critical worker issues that are important to our 200,000 members." She said the minimum-wage increase and three other bills "need to be acted on so they DO NOT become victims to sine die," referring to session's end.

She said if the bills weren't called for a vote in the House of Representatives or the Senate the AFL-CIO's legislative scorecard for each lawmaker, which shows how they vote on various issues, could be affected.

Pelletier said union leaders believe they had enough support in the House to pass the minimum-wage increase.

"The fact they're not acting on them is a disappointment," she said, adding how "other states are taking a more proactive and progressive tone when it comes to passing legislation."

She noted how Vermont lawmakers this week voted to increase their state's minimum wage from $10.50 an hour to $15 an hour by 2024. Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is expected to veto it.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said she was taken aback by the union letter.

"I think the tone was clearly bullying at best, threatening at worst," she said. "And I don't think there's any place for that, whether it's from that organization or any organization."