Pinoy New Yorkers join fight for $15 min wage

NEW YORK CITY – From Brooklyn to Manhattan, thousands of protesters took to the streets on behalf of low wage workers.

They are demanding for a $15 minimum wage.

Public advocate Leticia James said,”Because it’s not possible to work full time and support yourself from the amount of money that you’re making and so we must raise the wage.”

According to the National Employment Law Project, 42% of workers in the US make less than $15 an hour.

A Filipina caregiver from Staten Island, N.Y. says she only makes $8.75 an hour or about $1,400 a month.

For ten years now, Magdalena Ferrer says she has never even been paid more than the New York State’s current minimum wage of $8.75 an hour.

As of March 15, 2015, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment within 10 miles of New York is $2,973 a month, according to rentjungle.com.

Ferrer said, “Mahirap na mahirap nga. Kaya nga nandito ako para lumaban ng $15.”

They are also protesting the fact that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not increased since 2009.

“I think because there are business interests that control the economy here and that’s the biggest problem. They say they’re going to lose jobs, but that’s never been the case. Seattle and San Francisco are examples. The economies are thriving there. And that’s the right thing to do,” Judy Gonzales of New York State Nurses Association said.

Green Party candidate James Lane, who is running for a seat in the US Congress says the federal minimum wage failed to keep up with inflation.

“Nobody could survive on that. People have to work three or four jobs to survive,” said Lane. “Every state should be allowed to adjust their minimum wage based on their living. Like in New York State, we should actually have $20 an hour minimum wage.”

For New York City workers, a higher minimum wage will not only combat poverty but it would also help reduce income inequality.

These Filipino workers says the wage hike would help them make ends meet.

Philippine Forum’s Jonna Baldres said, “Especially dito sa New York medyo mahal nga ang mga gastusin, and nagre-remit din tayo sa mga kamag-anak natin sa Pilipinas. So malaking tulong kung ma-aaprubahan ang wage hike na ‘to.”

“$15? I can actually pay rent. I can actually pay the basic necessities of having a decent meal, having a decent living condition, decent housing,” Gabriela USA’s Chris Hilo said.

Organizers say these protests will continue on the streets and at the ballot box come election time until the minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour to give working families a decent living.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Delia
    16 April 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    People do not realize that they are cutting the tree they are sitting on by this demand. No business can have outsiders decide arbitrarily what the rate of pay should be, and if it is too high the business will not stay alive to pay higher wages than can sustain such a business.

    One more thing they are ensuring by this demand is that no young, inexperienced person will ever be given a chance to work and learn a skill. Too bad they do not have any understanding of the business world.

    Another problem is that after decades of unions demanding artificially high wages, businesses gave up and moved their manufacturing plants first to Japan (’60’s), then the general Far East (Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) and finally China today. So here comes all these new workers into the workplace and they don’t have the chance to get a high-paying manufacturing job because they aren’t here anymore.

    So they slip into the restaurant and hospitality industry and are now demanding similar wages to fold napkins and towels that they would have received machining parts for a freighter.

    No matter how high you make minimum wage it will always be at the bottom of the pay scale. The costs of goods and services will rise to compensate for the increased labor costs and the buying power of those at the low end of the wage scale will not improve.

    I am however looking to the day when you can drive up to a Hamburger Robot, get a fancy burger and sides and be on my way. It’s coming sooner rather then later.

  • Delia
    18 April 2015 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Today after all the protest for higher wages , Walmart suddenly close 5 stores across the country , 2,200 employee has lost their jobs, thanks to you protesters.

    You can bet next time , it will be your job and on your neighborhood busineses will close down.

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