This week, the Retail Action Project (RAP) and the City University of New York (CUNY) released data that shows a dramatic gender gap in wages in the retail industry. The study found that female employees’ median hourly wage was $9.00/hr, while their male coworkers’ was $10.13/hr. Read more about this study in Crain’s New York, Jezebel, Color Lines and Daily Kos.
Heard enough? Sign the petition to demand equal pay for equal work!
Stirred by rumors that Walmart is considering opening a store on a vacant plot of land at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, a group of politicians, residents and business owners called Thursday for the retail juggernaut to stay out of Harlem and New York City, according to DNAinfo.
According to a report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, 30 to 41 supermarkets, green grocers, and bodegas that sell fresh produce would go out of business within a year if a Walmart opened there. That’s 25% of area food businesses, writes the New York Daily News.
For more coverage of local opposition to Walmart, check out coverage from NY1, El Diario, the Huffington Post, and DNAinfo. Also listen to a report from CBS News to find out more about Manhattan BP Scott Stringer’s study.
The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows that 74 percent of all NYC voters approve a living wage, saying “it is the government’s responsibility to make sure workers are paid a decent wage.” According to Quinnipiac, support is 56 - 39 percent among Republicans, 83 - 11 percent among Democrats and 67 - 25 percent among independent voters.
“True to its image as a liberal town, New York gives big support to the City Council plan to require a “Living Wage” by companies that do business with the city. Does the government have an obligation to mandate a living wage? Overwhelmingly, voters say yes,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (NYHTC), AFL-CIO, which represents 30,000 hotel workers, today urged the New York City Council to pass The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.
“The debate on this legislation has run its course, and the time has come to raise wages for jobs in taxpayer-subsidized projects,” said Peter Ward, President of NYHTC. “City government should recognize the value of investing scarce public dollars more wisely in order to strengthen our economy and lift more New Yorkers out of poverty. When government incentivizes a higher-wage economy, everyone benefits. The evidence and data are crystal clear on that point. The moment for action has arrived.”
In his testimony at the City Council hearing in November, Jeff Fleming, President and CEO The Amazing Hospitality Group said wage policies like the one New York City is considering will “ultimately help” the hotel industry.
“There are more and more developers that, like our company, recognize the benefits of developing with decent wages and will seek opportunities in the growing number of cities that expect that from their partners,” he said.
“I watched grown men break down and cry after the announcement,” said Bruce Lawrence, who worked in maintenance and as a forklift operator for 38 years at the National Grocers warehouse in Sudbury, Ontario.
On March 3, 2010, National Grocers’ owner Loblaw Companies Limited announced it was closing its Sudbury warehouse after 60 years, leaving more than 125 people without work. With only eight weeks’ notice, workers had to suddenly face a future without the job they had dedicated themselves to for years.
Adding insult to injury, Loblaw offered the workers the minimum amount allowed by law, going back on a promise to negotiate a fair and equitable severance. At the same time, managers were given an extravagant severance deal.
Protests and political pressure failed to move the company to do the right thing, but in November, and arbitrator’s decision awarded in excess of $120,000 to the laid off warehouse workers.
“This company closed a profitable warehouse and put all these people out of work. While nothing can change that now, at least this arbitration will help ease the transition into new careers for the workers there,” said RWDSU Northern Joint Council President Derik McArthur.
Check out the latest video from Living Wage NYC!
Workers at Master Food, a supermarket store in Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York, have joined RWDSU Local 338 and ratified a new contract that drastically improves wages and benefits. The successful organizing campaign comes in the wake of a lawsuit settlement that will see the Master Food workers receive $300,000 as a result of stolen wages. Click here to read the full story!
New stats are out today reporting that poverty continues to drastically grow in New York City…
Crain’s New York reports that the number of needy New Yorkers is growing at an “alarming rate,” with soup kitchens and food pantries struggling to keep up with demand. The New York Daily News writes that the city has doled out $3.5 billion in food stamps this year, up $1.5 billion since 2009. Meanwhile, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger estimated that one in six New Yorkers, or 1.47 million people, have trouble buying food, reports the New York Post.
These grim statistics illustrate why New York City needs living wage jobs now!