On Tuesday, a Wage Board held its final public hearing in Albany to consider raising the sub-minimum wage for tipped hospitality workers - which is currently just $5 per hour for food service workers. We joined tipped workers and faith leaders - including Rev. Paula Gravelle of the New York State Council of Churches and Robb Smith of Interfaith Impact NYS (pictured left) - in calling on the Wage Board to require employers to pay the full minimum wage to all workers. (Read more about the hearing below.)
The Fight for 15 campaign is holding its next strike day this Thursday, Dec. 4! Fast-food workers and domestic workers in over 150 cities will be striking as part of their growing movement to win $15/hr and a union. In New York, there are actions happening in Buffalo, Rochester and NYC. Here's how you can get involved in one of the most exciting low-wage worker campaigns happening in NY!
One point of preaching is to wake us up to what God is doing in the world. To point out where the Kin[g]dom is breaking in, make known the justice and mercy of God for the whole world, and our part in it. Remind us of our power for tikkun olam, continuing the work of creation that God began in the beginning, healing the brokenness around and within, by the power of God. It’s not to beat us over the head with what terrible sinners we are (even when that is so apparent we’d rather hide the elephant in the room than name it), but rather, as I heard often in seminary, to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’
Though this year’s legislative session is over, the fight for higher wages continues. Last year, when legislation that will raise the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 by the end of 2015 was passed, a large sector of workers were excluded from the raise. Tipped workers - restaurant servers and hotel workers - were left with a frozen minimum wage of just $5.00 per hour.
From Angela Nelson: I’ve been in this position for about a month, but at one day a week in the office, it feels like barely a week. So for my fourth day on the job, we sent three of us from Labor-Religion to the Capitol Takeover action around raising the minimum wage. I had done one action as a seminarian in Chicago, protesting the bankers and foreclosures, but really had no idea what I was getting into at the time, except that it was exciting and felt a bit dangerous. At both of these actions we cried out ‘shame on you!’ Classism, it seems, is the biggest and most stubborn of the walls to come down before we achieve equality.
When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on April 16th, 1963 the country stood in the thick of a great movement that would lead to desegregation and a revolution of values that strove to uplift unconditional love for all mankind. From striking fast food workers, to food pantries and homeless shelters calling for an end to hunger and homelessness, to students and parents rising up for quality public education, a new united movement is upon us.
During Governor Cuomo’s 2014 State of the State address on 01/08/2014, the terms “poor or poverty” were not mentioned. Aside from proposing a tax credit for renters and announcing that an additional $100 million would be available for affordable housing, there was no comprehensive initiate articulated for reducing poverty and hunger in New York State.
Yesterday, over 70 people from around New York State gathered at the Capitol in the sub-zero cold to call on Governor Cuomo to address income inequality in his State of the State address. They braved the freezing temperatures because they had dreams and hopes for a better future. They spoke of a future where our children have a good education, where everyone has access to good jobs and living wages and where the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. See coverage from yesterday's event and take action below.