NY Wage Hike: “Medicine to Stem Epidemic of Working Hungry”
A Million New Yorkers Work But Can’t Afford Food
Advocates: “Workers Will Now Be Able to Afford to Eat”
The following is a statement from Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America (formerly the New York City Coalition Against Hunger), in response to the New York State budget deal that increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour in New York City and its suburbs and required paid family leave:
“The budget deal is a huge victory for hungry and low-income New Yorkers, most of whom work. The wage hike is the best possible medicine to stem the state’s epidemic of the ‘working hungry.’ We effusively thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state legislators who supported the hike, and the brave, steadfast labor activists who sparked the movement that lead to this historic achievement. We are proud that we have been an active part of this movement.
According to federal data calculated by Hunger Free America, in 2012-2014, an estimated one million New York State residents (including half a million in New York City) lived in households that included at least one person working but who was food insecure, unable to consistently afford enough food. Many more of those workers will now be able to afford to eat.
We are disappointed that struggling workers upstate may not receive the full $15 wage, and we will keep up our fight until every full-time worker in New York and America earns enough to feed and house their family. The good news is that this progressive victory in New York, as well as the $15 minimum wage just agreed to in California, now sets a higher marker for the entire country.
We also strongly support the new paid family and sick leave provisions in the deal. No worker should have to choose between caring for their family and keeping their job.”