As corporate profits continue to rise among companies that employ low-wage workers, the federal minimum wage has remained stagnant for the last three years and the average worker’s paycheck has dropped 1.7 percent. To draw attention to this growing wage disparity, social group Uri L’Tzedek joined with other faith and social action organizations on July 24 in Union Square in New York City for a National Day of Action on Minimum Wage.
“The only way to protect the rights of the working people of New York is for all of them and their supporters to stand together,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. The Jewish organization anticipated the New York City gathering would be “an unprecedented number of low-wage workers rallying together for a living wage.”
Currently, most low-wage workers are employed by large corporations, which have seen profits and CEO salaries increase in recent years but benefits for workers decrease.
“While those businesses have emerged from the recession with strong profits, their lowest-paid workers are still struggling to make ends meet,” Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a press release for the Day of Action.
A full time worker earning minimum wage earns approximately $15,000, below federal poverty levels for a family of four.
“No one can live on $7.25—especially in NYC,” Uri L’Tzedek stressed. “When people work, they should be able to live dignified lives based on their labor.”
After marching with the workers, Uri L’Tzedek held a pop up beis midrash open to all to discuss worker rights and Jewish values in Union Square.