The Fight for $15 continues as another group of workers claim a new victory.
The Alliance for Downtown New York announced that all of the organization’s employees will receive an increase in base wages to $15 an hour. The announcement, made at the organization’s lower Manhattan central operations facility, will affect close to 80 workers.
“The Fight for $15 has won public support in our city, our state and our country, and working people are standing up and saying no one who works full time should live in poverty,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa in a statement. “The Downtown Alliance is taking the lead as an employer fighting against poverty wages. This will have a big impact on nearly 80 workers, many of whom are security officers and members of our union, who will now be able to better support themselves and their families.”
Other union leaders at the news conference included Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda, Teamster Local 810 President Michael Smith, 32BJ SEIU’s Vice President and Director of Security Denis Johnston and Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin.
“These men and women dedicate themselves each and every day in service to lower Manhattan,” stated Lappin. “Today, we make sure their wages reflect the significance of their work and can better support themselves and their families. I want to note that the Alliance is in a unique position and doesn’t face many of the same challenges our colleagues in smaller BIDS face. However, we are able to take this step and are confident it is the right thing to do.”
According to the Alliance, the wage increase will be phased in over the next 30 months, finish by the end of 2018 and benefit unionized and non-unionized workers. By the end of 2016, the hourly wage will be raised to $12. By 2017, it will be $13.50, eventually leading to the $15 hourly wage by the end of 2018. Alliance officials said that this wage is in line with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desire to increase wages for municipal workers and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desire to increase wages for fast-food and state employees.
“A $15 minimum wage will help lift families out of poverty and restore the promise of dignity and respect for hardworking New Yorkers,” said Cuomo in a statement. “I commend the Alliance for Downtown NY for leading by example, and I urge all state lawmakers to follow their lead. It’s time for New York to pass a $15 minimum wage and lead the nation in the fight for fair pay.”
“Now, the Downtown Alliance is setting an example that we hope employers across the city will follow—and that will continue to build momentum toward the state and federal action we need,” stated de Blasio.