Albany, NY –Tipped workers called on the Cuomo administration today to use a newly-announced Wage Board to eliminate New York’s tipped sub-minimum wage, which is currently just $5.00
Poverty Rate Among Tipped Workers Double That of Regular Workforce
Following the first convening of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wage board on Monday, workers and advocates called for the elimination of the sub-minimum wage for New York State’s 230,000 tipped workers at a rally in New York City.
“I can’t live on $6.40 an hour, it’s that simple,” said Jose Sanchez, 32, a pizza deliveryman who has worked at a Domino’s in Washington Heights for four years. “Domino’s says that because we make tips, that’s enough. It never is, especially when they’re pocketing some of our wages in the process. Profitable chains like Domino’s pay us so little that we have to live on food stamps and Medicaid. The Wage Board can help fix that by getting rid of the sub-minimum wage.”
Employers in New York can still pay less than the minimum wage—just $5 an hour—to restaurant servers, delivery workers, and other service workers. While employers are legally required to “top off” a tipped worker’s pay when it falls short of the regular minimum wage, lax and disorganized enforcement enables employers to routinely violate minimum wage, overtime and other wage and hour laws with minimal repercussion.
By: Paul Davidson
A recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research attempts to undercut the argument that raising the minimum wage kills jobs.
The study, which updates a Goldman Sachs analysis to include data from April and May, shows that the 13 states that increased their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have had stronger employment growth than the 37 states that didn’t. The study compared average employment during the first five months of 2014 with the last five months of 2013. (more…)
New York—Citing Seattle’s historic deal to move to a $15 / hour minimum wage, fast food workers today urged Albany lawmakers to let cities raise the state’s unlivable $8 / hour minimum wage by passing RaiseUpNY (S.6516 Stewart-Cousins/ A.9036 Camara).
“The momentum is there. The need is there. It’s time for Albany to get off the sidelines and to start standing up for the 3 million low-wage New Yorkers who are working hard, playing by the rules, and still living in poverty,” said KFC worker Naquasia LeGrand.
“Otherwise, they’re just allowing the most profitable corporations on the planet, like Walmart and McDonald’s, to pay their workers as little as possible. Our economy will never get back on track that way—and women and people of color, the majority of folks in these jobs, will never have an honest shot at the middle class.”
Cities and counties around the country including California, Arizona and Washington State have already instituted higher minimum wages and the results have been hugely positive. In each case, there was opposition, but the sky didn’t fall. Instead, workers have more money in their pockets, poverty has been reduced and economies have gotten stronger. Even better—citywide increases didn’t hamstring efforts to raise the statewide minimum. In each case, the local initiatives helped build momentum for broader wage hikes.
73% of New Yorkers –including 2/3 of voters in every region of state – support this measure, as does the Black and Latino Caucus, and more than 125 prominent women leaders, including NAACP NYS President Hazel Dukes, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York Andrea Miller, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Citizen Action Executive Director Karen Scharff, Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner, NYS League of Women Voters Executive Director Barbara Bartoletti, NYS Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D- Yonkers), NYS Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester), NYS Assembly Member Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers), NYS Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo), NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and NYS State Assembly Member Michaelle Solages (D-Long Island).
Likelihood of Success
President Obama, the Pope, Billionaire Conservative Ron Unz, striking fast food workers, and 73% of New Yorkers agree we need to raise the minimum wage to jumpstart the economy. The tide is turning, momentum is on our side, and the bottom line is that even Albany isn’t immune to the will of voters.
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“We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for listening to advocates and homeowners, and for standing up for New Yorkers by ensuring there will be significant money available to help working families stay in their homes. (more…)