Wage board has the power to change workers’ lives
The Fast Food Wage Board hearings, featuring testimony from fast food workers struggling to survive on $8.75, represent a historic moment in the pursuit of a more equitable New York State. The fact of the matter is this: in recent years, wages have stagnated, despite worker productivity being on the rise.
Cornell University’s High Road Fellowship program – and my year as a worker in the fast food industry – have both allowed me to see how income inequality entrenches itself in the day-to-day lives of ordinary, hardworking people – people who are not paid a fair wage for their labor.
Executives at fast-food companies hoard profits for themselves – the average fast-food CEO earned over $23 million in 2013 – while fast-food workers remain as the lowest-paid workers in the newly restructured service-based American economy.
While workers struggle, executives live lives of lavishness.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proactive solution by creating this wage board, which could raise the wages of fast-food workers to $15 per hour, can potentially save taxpayers some of the estimated $7 billion, according to a UC-Berkeley Labor Center report, they provide in public assistance to 52 percent of families with a fast-food worker in the household. When the Wage Board recommends a new wage floor for workers in the fast-food industry, it is imperative that that wage floor is set at $15 per hour.
There has never been a more important time to stand up for a more equitable, ethical and fair New York State.
Coalition for Economic Justice