A coalition of New York City workers, Latino elected officials and community and faith leaders yesterday threw its support behind a National Day of Action to mobilize thousands of workers throughout the City to revive our economy and call for workers’ rights and fair wages.
Airport workers, car washers, supermarket workers and janitors along with New Yorkers of all backgrounds are uniting to hold irresponsible corporations and employers accountable, and to win decent wages and a voice at the workplace.
“While New York’s small businesses often do right by their employees, too many large companies oppose paying a living wage or granting their workers paid sick leave,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY). “With the cost of everything from groceries to rent escalating, hard-working families in New York need a raise.”
“A few months ago, my co-workers and I started to organize to demand a fair salary and better working conditions,” said Heriberto Hernandez, a member of Make the Road New York and a car wash worker who is actively involved in the WASH NY campaign. “But we can’t do it alone. We need to join together with the struggles of other low-income workers. We need the support of elected officials, faith leaders and community members who believe in justice. On July 24, we will be marching to demand respect and dignity, paid sick days, a higher minimum wage and the right to organize. If we’re united, I know we can win justice for the car wash workers and other low-income workers in New York City.”
“We will not have justice until every worker is given the respect they deserve,” said Rev. Ramon Almonte, pastor of the Central Baptist Church in Bushwick and a member of Make the Road New York, “July 24th will be a day of prayerful action for the dignity of all who labor to move this city forward. We must protect workers’ rights, because strong worker protections mean strong families, strong communities and strong small businesses. This is a moral imperative that we can no longer ignore.”
On the July 24th National Day of Action, thousands of New Yorkers – and more around the country – will take public action to call for raising the minimum wage and holding irresponsible corporations and employers accountable. In New York, there will be a march starting at Herald Square and ending at Union Square with a massive rally.
“With glaring income inequality keeping our economy depressed, wage standards are indispensable,” said Hector Figueroa, secretary-treasurer of 32BJ. “If we are serious about revitalizing our economy and helping working families, we must continue the fight to ensure that all workers are paid a fair wage and decent benefits.”
“What this comes down to is a lack of respect for workers,” said Camille Rivera, Executive Director of UnitedNY. “Some of these employers are making more than 660 times what their workers earn, yet workers are continually robbed of their wages, rights and dignity. July 24th will be about workers, community groups, clergy, labor organizations and elected officials standing up to fight back, and take back what’s rightfully ours.”
“It is on the backs of our workers and communities that the 1% continues to make high profits,” said Lucia Gomez-Jimenez, Executive Director of La Fuente. “The time is now to come together in solidarity and demand an increase to the minimum wage and justice for all of our workers.”
“Bigger paychecks for workers means more sales at small businesses and more prosperity for neighborhoods that need a boost,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition. “If we want to improve the New York City economy, we need to do a lot more for regular people and maybe a little less for the 1%.”
Velazquez and Figueroa were joined at the press conference by State Sen. Gustavo Rivera; Assembly Members Francisco Moya and Robert Rodriguez; Guillermo Linares; and City Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Julissa Ferreras; Diana Reyna and Fernando Cabrera.
Also on hand were Estella Vasquez, 1199UHWE; Sonia Ivani, LCLAA; Jose Davila, Hispanic Federation; Camille Rivera, UnitedNY; Lucia Gomez, La Fuente; Ana Maria Archila, Make the Road NY; Rev. Fabian Arias, Zion Lutheran Church; Rev. Guillermo Martino, Tabernacle of God’s Glory; Minister Danny Diaz, Micah Institute; Rev. Jack Bombar, Iglesias United Palace Cathedral; Danilo Lachapel, Bronx Spanish Evangelical Church and low-wage workers from various industries
The National Day of Action is part of a larger campaign to unite low-wage workers with community organizations and average New Yorkers in the fight for a fair economy.
Many low-wage workers are already involved in distinct organizing efforts to achieve fairer working conditions in their respective sectors. Airport, car wash, restaurant and supermarket workers, among others, are fighting against deplorable and sometimes illegal behaviors by their employers.
Organizers said the campaign is aimed at uniting these workers to achieve victories in those struggles, while elevating workers’ rights and economic justice.
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