As New York State moves towards a $15/hr wage floor for fast food workers, some are asking: are fast food workers enough? In City & State this week, James Parrott and Jennifer Jones-Austin (Opinion: The Importance of a $15 Wage Floor for New York’s Nonprofits) argue for a wage increase for “[t]he 250,000 workers in New York’s nonprofit sector providing essential human services.” They write:
Over 80 percent of these workers are women, most are not represented by a labor union, and nearly two-fifths have at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree (twice the share as in fast food).
Yet half of this workforce makes less than $15 an hour. That’s not nearly enough to provide for basic family budget needs in any part of our state. Like fast-food workers, the earnings of many human services workers are so low that they qualify for public assistance.
Human services pay, they note, is directly linked to state allocations for human service contract funding. They write:
It makes good fiscal sense for the state to increase human services contract funding to raise the pay of low-paid nonprofit workers. High employee turnover will decline, yielding hiring costs savings and improved service quality. After all, many of these government-funded services are intended to help low-income families get back on their feet and to better care for their children and other family members. Improved delivery of these essential services will save taxpayers in the long run, as will the reduced use of public assistance by nonprofit workers.
For the full piece, visit City & State.