New York City essential service workers rallied Wednesday to “Raise the Wage” with U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman and members of New York Communities for Change (NYCC) outside of Capital Grille in Midtown Manhattan.
The New York City event was in conjunction with on-the-ground “Raise the Wage” rallies that happened across the country, and was included in a nationally-streamed virtual rally.
All New York City restaurant workers deserve livable wages, without being harassed, without being oppressed, without being brutalized or being treated unfairly. I’m proud to stand with @nychange and @OneFairWageNY in that fight! pic.twitter.com/4PBNxzwf3f
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) October 13, 2021
Speakers at the New York City rally and its sister rallies across the country discussed the conditions facing essential workers, why they refuse to work subminimum wage jobs in the restaurant and other service industries that don’t pay a full, livable wage and how those issues will determine how they vote at the ballot box in 2022.
“Hundreds of essential workers and allies gathered across America because millions of restaurant workers and other service workers have been walking away from the service sector due to being fed up with the subminimum wage,” said Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, at the Zoom rally. “Eighty percent of these workers say the only thing that would make them stay is a full minimum wage with tips on top.”
The nationwide day of rallies marks the launch of the Raise the Wage Voter Fund and Voter Bloc, which will aggregate voters and funding in support of congressional and gubernatorial candidates who publicly endorse policies that end the subminimum wage, and guarantee a fair minimum wage plus tips for all workers.
The Raise the Wage Voter Bloc has already amassed more than 150,000 voters, and the “Raise the Wage Voters” Fund has raised $30,000 toward a total goal of $500,000 for federal candidates who support raising the wage.
“My shifts were cut and taken away from me as soon as the pandemic started,”said Annette, a New York City restaurant worker at the New York City rally. “My restaurant closed for three months and that was three months of not knowing if I would get evicted. I am not getting paid anymore, I have been verbally abused, sexually harassed. I am a human being. I am not a piece of meat. They keep asking us why we don’t want to come back. This is why. We all came out because we want to get back to work but we are not willing to do it without a fair wage.”