New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Raise Wages

Daily News coverage of legislation to raise wages from Ben Kallos

As the Daily News reported, Ben proposed legislation that would facilitate a worker-led recovery by raising wages for 200,000 human service employees who work at non-profits that are contracted to the city.

New York City provides services to millions of youths, seniors, homeless, and veterans in poverty through human service nonprofits whose government contracts ironically pay workers poverty wages. Per my legislation, the Comptroller would work with the human services sector to determine the average wage or adopt a collectively bargained wage for new contracts. Once prevailing wage rates are adopted, the city would be required to fully fund wage increases as part of new contracts, modifications, or renewals increasing overall funds to non-profits providing vital human services.

“We need to actually invest in paying our Black and Brown human service workers and women of color a prevailing wage so that they can afford to live in the city,” said Ben to the Daily News.

Currently, we are operating in a system where social workers, case managers and other human service professionals, sometimes even with advanced degrees, earn significantly less than building services workers or security guards at the same organization. Pay is so low that 60% of those working in the human services sector were utilizing or had a family member utilizing some form of public assistance benefit, such as Medicaid or food stamps. This is because some of the job titles that have benefited most from prevailing wage laws served predominantly blue-collar workers who are mostly male, exacerbating the gender pay gap.

As Borough President Ben will make sure the City finally pays these service providers and their workers the wages they deserve.