“Today we are celebrating the low wage workers who are stepping out of the shadows and organizing for their right” began Ana Maria Archilla from Make the Road New York.
It was a sweltering morning at City Hall, but the heat did not deter the enthusiasm and spirit of those gathered this morning for a Latino Leaders Press Conference to announce the July 24th Low Wage Workers Day of Action.
Latino Leaders from across NYC, including faith leaders, community leaders, and elected officials, gathered to reaffirm their commitment to fighting for justice for our communities.
The problem of low wages is an issue of human rights for our communities. As Rep Nydia Velasquez stated “it is immoral for a city like NYC to deny a living wage to its workers.” Our fight is one for dignity and respect. A Car Wash Worker shared his daily hard ships-“I get my tips stolen, work 12 hour shifts, and only make $5.50 an hour”
Pastor Almonde of Brooklyn recounted how “Every day I see our community struggling to afford milk and bread to feed their families and to pay their rent. As a Latino pastor – I want to raise the voice of our workers.”
That voice is being raised. A reoccurring theme was that out of such exploitation, our workers are coming together, finding their voice, joining others, and becoming empowered to fight for the rights of their communities.
As the car wash worker continued “we work hard and we are tired, but we must organize for a fair wage.” “I am tired of not having a voice at my job – that is why I am joining workers across the city and fighting for our rights and dignity”.
Milagros, who worked for a contracor for Con Edison, was fired without notice and “just told to go home.” And that is why, she said, she is “marching July 24th – it is necessary for us to join our strength together”.
A rallying cry for the July 24th Day of Action then emerged, when something remarkable is happening, as Hector from Make the Road NY said, “workers from across the city and from different occupations are coming together to demand rights together”
Hector continued, “the time has come for us to occupy the workplace. For low wage workers to say enough is enough. We must rise and defend our right to dignity. Workers’ rights, workers’ rights – is what we need to fight for.”
Elected officials highlighted how raising the minimum wage will increase economic prosperity. Rep Nydia Velasquez summed it up: “the best way to tackle poverty in our city is to give respect and dignity to workers who are underpaid.”
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera emphasized, “the best economic stimulus for the state is to raise the minimum wage”. Raising the minimum wage will increase demand in the economy by increasing the purchasing power of our community. He announced his state Bill to raise minimum wage in NY to $8.50.
Join us in the fight to ensure that this Bill passes. Stand up for dignity and respect for all workers at our July 24th Day of Action