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Know Your Rights
Source: Capital New York
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Toys ‘R’ Us and Con Ed have made a labor-backed group’s list of New York City’s ‘worst low-wage employers’

The list is part of a report from United NY entitled “The Economic Low Road: Low-wage workers and the one-percenters.”

On a conference call with reporters this morning, Camille Rivera, United NY’s executive director, read through a short list of low-wage employers that included a chain of car washes, an airline service company, Con Edison, and Toys “R” Us.

She named the company’s leaders, and enumerated details like their compensation, real estate holdings and net worth. For example, the C.E.O. of Toys ‘R’ Us, which is partly owned by Bain Capital, earned nearly $8 million in total compensation last year, and lives in a $3.4 million home.

Rivera said she was highlighting these things because, “If you are making this amount of profit, the least that you can do is pay your workers a decent wage, which is not necessarily happening in many of these places.”

According to the report, many of Toys ‘R’ Us’s workers make less than $10 an hour.

Con Ed also earned mention, thanks to its hiring of low-wage contractors to do security and cleaning.

Neither Toys ‘R’ Us nor Con Ed had any immediate comment.

United NY works with advocacy organizations like Make the Road NY and unions like 32BJ and the CWA and aims to bring together poorly paid workers in disparate industries.

On July 24, the organization will hold a march from Herald Square to Union Square.

The organization’s leaders argue from a moral and economic standpoint (the term “wage-led recovery” earned mention at least twice in today’s call), and advocates a higher minimum wage, strong wage-theft protections and a “living wage” for all workers at projects subsidized by New York City.

“Minimum-wage jobs are the fastest-growing sector in New York, with the number of workers being paid minimum wage increasing ten-fold over the past five years to 91,000,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of RWDSU, which recently pushed a (fairly limited) living wage bill through the City Council.

“The only way we’re really going to have a recovery that touches people in this city is if low-wage workers receive more, if there is a wage-led recovery, because everything that they get will be spent and will be used to stimulate this economy,” he said.

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