February 29, 2016

Why We 'Fight for $15'

Source:  NYSUT Communications
fight for 15

fight for 15We're fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15 statewide for all workers.

We're fighting for tens of thousands of NYSUT members - School-Related Professionals and paraprofessionals all across New York State. No one should have to work multiple jobs and rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

It might surprise you to learn the statewide median starting hourly wages for these public school employees: Food service worker = $9.57; teacher aide = $10.76; custodian = $12.47; and clerk = $11.05. None of these adds up to a livable wage.

A rising tide lifts all boats. A $15 minimum wage is good for New Yorkers and good for New York's economy. Raising the minimum wage ripples throughout the workforce. More than half of New York State workers earning less than $15 an hour are 35 or older; only one-quarter are young adults 16-25. Women make up 54% of the low-wage workers in New York State. Many of these individuals are raising families or want to start a family.

We have the biggest income disparity since 1928. Millions of New York workers are not earning enough to care for their families, while pay skyrockets for the top 1%.

TAKE ACTION: Spread the word! Urge lawmakers to increase the minimum wage to $15/hr for EVERYONE


Cheryl, North Country

fight for 15
"I'm a school and bus monitor for a public school. After 18 years I still don't make $15 an hour. For half of the year I have a second job as a short order cook, which means I'm working 14-hour days. My husband and I have three jobs between us. We utilize the land to subsidize our grocery bills. I am sad that we've never had enough money to have a [fancy] family vacation. It takes everything we have just to pay basic bills. I'm fighting for $15 alongside my union because the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. I'm fighting so my children and my grandchildren won't have to work as hard as I have to now."

DeAnn, Western New York

fight for 15
"I work as a teaching assistant and I currently make $12.36 per hour. As a single mother, the hours that I work mirror my two sons' school hours, which is important because child care costs are prohibitive. I have a second job working at a shoe store to earn additional money and perhaps as important - a discount for myself and my sons. And it is still not enough. As an Air Force veteran who did a tour of duty in Iraq, I have a hard time understanding why it is so difficult for me to meet my family's financial obligations without having to rely on food stamps. I'm fighting for $15 to provide for my family."

Dani, Southern Tier

fight for 15
"I work as a teacher aide in a public school classroom for children with autism. I make $9.50 an hour. I'm a single mother who, despite working two jobs, depends on food stamps to help feed myself and my son. I'm fighting for $15 because it would allow me and so many people in my neighborhood to live with dignity."