Hard work by our affiliate Citizen Action of New York – along with dozens of other allied organizations and unions, and thousands of workers who took to the streets and shared their personal stories – has paid off in a huge victory.
Yesterday, the New York State Wage Board approved gradually raising the minimum wage for New York City fast food chain employees to $15 an hour by 2018. Fast food worker wages throughout New York state will gradually raise to $15 an hour by 2021.
“This is a huge victory for fast food workers, and for everyone working for low wages in New York,” said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society. “It puts pressure on employers in other low-paying industries to start paying their workers a living wage.
“I applaud the hard work of everyone who fought for this important moment,” said Hall.
Fast food workers are paid less than any other occupation, and fast food work is projected to be the second largest growing occupation in the country, with more openings than nearly any other.
This momentous victory brings fast food workers in New York significantly closer to earning a wage that will allow them to support themselves. It will boost their own financial stability, their communities, and the economy for all of us.
In New York and many other states, $15 is still a modest wage. This increase however allows workers to come closer to making ends meet.
In the report “Families Out of Balance” by the Alliance for a Just Society, our research shows that a living wage for a single adult is $18.47 an hour in New York state and is $22.49 an hour in New York City.
A pay raise is long overdue for all our workers nationwide. Tomorrow marks six years since the federal government last raised the minimum wage – to $7.25 on July 24, 2009.
A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and in the House by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
If the wage can be raised in Seattle and New York and Los Angeles and so many other cities, it can be raised nationally – and we can do it.
Congratulations New York!