Saturday, December 27, 2014

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The Call Blog: Report Cites Struggles Of "Low-Wage Work" In New York City

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Living on less than $10 an hour in the City, let alone $7.25, is nearly impossible without financial help -- and that’s not a luxury everyone has. And I can’t imagine having to also provide for a family on those wages. While I understand it’s unrealistic to raise the fares too much in fears of hurting businesses, the minimum wage of a City should somewhat reflect the cost of living in that particular City and time. And the more income people have to spend, the better it is for the economy and those businesses.

New York City has an unemployment problem, and an employment problem too. That's the finding of a report released today from the groups UnitedNY and ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York. The report concludes four in ten households in New York City are forced to subsist on low-wages that have not kept pace with the increase in the cost of living.

The report finds one in five New Yorkers lives below the federal poverty line of $11,170 per year. But New Yorkers are also some of the highest paid workers in the world, leading to "stark levels of inequality" that are "undermining our city, our communities, and our economy."

The report recommends raising the $7.25/hour minimum wage, requiring employers that receive taxpayer subsidies to hire locally, and making it easier for workers to gain collective bargaining. What do you say?

Are low wages affecting your ability to provide for your family? Do you support raising the minimum wage and forcing employers to hire locally? What recommendations do you have to reduce the disparity in income levels in New York City?

Send your thoughts using the link above.




The only way people are going to increase their wealth is to decrease the cost of government and government provided services. No government services are worth the money extracted from the citizens via taxation.

All taxation is theft.

Port Richmond

Where do the v.wealthy who oppose revising tax code they enjoy(many, like Buffett DO want change)..but Repubs demanding devastating cuts to Medicare, Soc Secur, 'govt' Jobs(teachers,cops, fireman!)+ social programs keeping 20-30 pct of pop. frm starvation+extreme poverty think consumers will be for products their companies make?? 70pct of US economy is consumer based! Super rich can keep some lux brands in biz, but almost 20pct of americans need food stamps! As Repubs gut the funding, people will be at food pantries!l. Biz can't survive if no one can shop,+OR pay taxes w/no income! ..

Bah humbug if bloomberg is so concerned with how the citizenry eats lets lower the overhead of fine dining establishments so one can eat in high end restaurants pro bono. Such compassion for the downtrodden. How many more months till this nightmare is over.


I fall under the category of no wages at this point, along with many of many former co-workers who were terminated by the State two years ago. The jobs that I apply to and can't even get are mostly half or one-quarter of what I used to make, which flies in the face of my rent, utilities and food all going up in price in the meantime. I am lucky in a sense that I don't have a family or children, because I can only imagine how horrible it is for them. But this is what the Mayor, the Governor and their friends in big business want, a desperate work force that they can exploit and pay low wages to. If anyone was honest with themselves they would see that this in one of the reasons why Bloomberg is so pro-immigrant rights. He just wants workers who will work for nothing and live in conditions that anyone who had the nerve to be come used actually having a living wage and treated like a human being. Anyone ever hear anything else about them cracking down on all the illegal residencies that low-income people are forced to live in that are death-traps? No of course not, that is the work force for their grand island of Manhattan and they won't give that up for anything.

Bloomberg is not the only person with his hand in this game, Cuomo is getting his pockets lined by the same people that the Mayor runs with. At least the Mayor isn't two-faced about being an elitist, the Governor talks out of both sides of his mouth about jobs, jobs, jobs. Aside from him saying it three times like it was a magic trick all he has done is stand by while his friends in companies like NYRA, and ConEd have stole,stole, stole and laid people off. New York City and State have become a Third World country for many people, and the only economy here seems to be tourist coming to gawk at the natives like it's a zoo.

The Bronx

Desperation allows people to accept lower wages; especially those who have been unemployed for so long. I am not personally making low wages... any more, but I recruit for a company that offers a shoe string payroll budget to staff their stores. I rack my brain trying to figure out how these employees afford the metro card to get to work. I believe a liveable wage in this city is $9.75, after all Washington state minimum wage is $9.04. When I used to make $7.15 an hour Ramen Noodles were a treat.

Ozone Park

Unless you're going to talk about how people spend their money, the discussion is not complete. Many people do things - like having multiple children that they can't afford or shopping all the time-that put them in debt. So no amount of increase in the minimum wage is going to help, unless people really think about how they spend their money. It's also about living within your means all the time so that you can survive in down times.

I really didn't need this report to know that wages are way below the costs of food and shelter in NYC. How can a two wage earner @ $7.25 an hour family of four pay a $2000 median rent in manhattan? Impossible.

The Bronx

I'm living on well fare I got fired from my job and they don't even wanna give me unemployment Right now I'm doing really bad I'm moving in the shelter we need more job and higher pay everyday cost of living raises but your pay remain the same the rent in new York is too high

At present, the minimum wage in NYC is unbelievably low considering the cost of living in an over populated and extremely costly city. The needs of the majority of the people in NYC, who are the working poor, far outweigh the compensation earned in these jobs. Also, given the cost of medical and social service needs of the working poor, these jobs hold very little benefits and time off. I worked at a non profit for years where the majority of the workers are minorities and even though they earned more than the minimum wage, they too are overworked and not compensated for working extra hours. The fact is, NYC policy makers need to look at reforming wage laws and holding agencies and other organizations accountable.

Jackson Heights

I work in a music instrument distributing company. I make 8/hr which is better than most. It is a regular 9 to 5 and benefits would come a year after my initial employment date. Working there I can barely support my 800 rent for a tiny studio. And now having my newly wed husband get fired from his job it is horrible. I cant get government medical insurance cause I make too much and cant afford my company benefits cause then I cant afford rent and bills. Paying more for traveling on the trains and food alone im suprised my husband and I have survived altogether. Wages should be increased and negligence to do so will ultimately drive the lower class and eventually middle class out of new york.
I work hard and feel that the government pushes people to do nothing. Cause if I did nothing government ammenities would be available to me and my family. I have the right to a decent lifestyle and living. So do all new yorkers who find themselves in similar situayions.


I've been in NYC for 5 yrs, the MTA cost has gone up astronomically, my salary was reduced, my rent increases and everything else is going up in the city. At this time I was better off when I first got here 5yrs ago. It is inevitable that my gf and I will have to move from NYC/bklyn. This city is no longer for the working class.


The rents in New York City are just getting out of hand. It's becoming a city for the rich. The minimum wage should be increased significantly to keep up with inflation.


It is obvious to the workers that an increase in the minimum wage is long overdue for New York State. Just one indicator is from the history of recent MTA fare increases, people's incomes have not kept up with just paying bills. The New York State government should post this as the first priority as they end the legislative session.

With due respect to the retired workers, there is the common statement that they are on fixed income. Well, for many of the current employed, we are all on fixed income as well with this wage stagnation environment.


I really hope they raised the minum wage .the people cant do so much better and spend more for the future and save more i really hope this happens


It's that in the United States of America!! A person can not even afford a roof or a decent living while working full time. $8.25 is taking advantage of the poor immigrants and uneducated. The rich including mayor Bloomberg could care less about the hard working people in this city.

I believe yes, we should increase the minimum wage.

But as the representative for the National Alliance of HUD tenants, we find that more than 50% of a families income goes to rent when HUD has already calcultated that rent should not be more than 30% of a household income for a family to be financially balanced.

This would require to not only preserve affordable housing thats currently in place, but to build some more that would have built in supportive services (like day care, job training, entrepreneurship, computer classes, financial management etx) This would build more self sufficient families and allow for turn over of the units for up anc coming families to.


I have a hard time sympathizing with the sufferings of small businesses when I see actual people suffering so much more so. Raising the minimum wage isn't theoretical. There is no trickling down; there is no building up. It is a direct solution to a very direct problem.


A living wage depends on how you live. It’s bad parenting that has produced a generation or two of people who can’t manage their money, i.e., they spend more than they have or earn. When I was a kid, we lived by words of wisdom such as: don’t buy what you can’t afford, don’t spend what you don’t have, and a penny saved is a penny earned. Parents today give their kids everything they want without knowing how to say NO; when you see kids 9 and 10 years old walking around with iPhones, you assume their parents are rich, but usually they’re just in debt for stuff that they really don’t need.

New Dorp

I remember hearing one your viewers remark that education is the great divider. I am paraphrasing, but I also assume he meant that education makes a real difference in whether one gets a job and the quality of that job. I have Masters degree from one of the finest schools in the world. But I am still struggling and feel like now I'm losing ground. I have worked in the corporate world for superiors who could not even construct a basic sentence properly, yet they were earning many times the wage I was getting. And some of them could even barely use English properly, and it wasn't because they weren't born in this country. So don't tell me that education makes your life better. I can’t give you a solution, but at my age I still shouldn't be worried about living day to day. There was a time when I could think about the future, not now.


With the extremely high cost of living in NYC, one must be rich or very poor. There isn't any room to survive much in between. At the very least if you're very poor, you have governmental aid that often affords those recipients with a better quality of life than those who are struggling working each day for a mediocre salary. Furthermore a large percentage of these Fortune 500 companies have used the economy as an excuse to reduce salaries, enabling them to acquire the best for less. Especially given the knowledge that there is a line of people for each available job. So salaries are being suppressed however the cost of living is steadily increasing.

I. Castro

The cost of living in NYC is out of hand with just a cup of coffee or cold drink costing $2.50 and up. The MTA raising fares all the time. Just to mention the bare minimal cost of living i'm not going to get into rent, cable, cell bills, and all the other daily necessities. Every thing is going up except for the salaries. Most of the jobs being offer are part time, seasonal, a lot of them offering only 20hrs a week. I have been there and don't look forward to returning. It affect all of us individuals and small businesses.

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