Healthcare Workers Laud Minimum Wage Budget Agreement

The homecare and healthcare workers of 1199SEIU, the healthcare union that has been helping to lead the Fight For $15, are celebrating the historic budget agreement that has put New York State on the path to a $15 minimum wage.  The union says millions of hardworking New Yorkers, including caregivers throughout the state’s hospitals, nursing homes, homecare programs, clinics and pharmacies, will benefit from a $15 minimum wage.


There are an estimated 300,000 homecare workers in New York State who make around $10 an hour, and 56% are forced to rely on public assistance to survive, including 30% who are on food stamps. 


“The $15 minimum wage means I’ll have a little room to breathe and provide for my family,” said Lisa Johnson, a 45 year-old homecare worker from Queens. “I’m trying to raise four kids on $10 an hour, so sometimes I have to work seven day weeks and occasionally 22 hour days.” Ms. Johnson added that despite working full-time, she has to rely on Medicaid and SNAP benefits for her children. 


State Senator Jeff Klein, the Independent Democratic Conference leader stated, “A $15 minimum wage puts money back in the pockets of New York’s working class. By introducing a raise in wages over three years for New York City, New York will be the first state in the nation to reach $15 by 2019.”


“This budget agreement puts our entire state on the path to a $15 minimum wage, which will lift up millions of hardworking New Yorkers, including healthcare workers, childcare workers and security guards,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU and Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice.


“The majority of those who will benefit are adults working full-time, many of whom support families. Governor Cuomo has been a national leader in the fight against income inequality and a champion of working people, declaring often that ‘We are all connected to each other.’ His tremendous leadership will ensure that all New Yorkers can thrive. 


The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice worked alongside coalition partners in labor and communities throughout the state to achieve the minimum wage victory. Gresham called the agreement, “very good news for our state’s economy, which will benefit from the increased spending power of working people who will be better able to shop in local stores, pay the rent and provide for their families.”


Over 200 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, voiced support for raising the minimum wage because it will boost the economy for all New Yorkers.


The NYS budget effort was sparked by the national Fight For $15 movement, and carried forward by thousands of community organizations, faith leaders, union members, and elected officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. 


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