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New York State Human Services Workers Fight for Fair Wages: Will ‘Pay Fair Now’ Legislation Pass?

With the imminent passage of New York State’s fiscal year 2025 budget, there is another group of workers hoping to see adjustments to their wage income. It is more than 150,000 thousand employees of organizations non-profit human services organizations, which receive wages so low that even the restaurant workforce, earn more or equal money.

“While New York State depends on these workers to provide essential services to millions of New Yorkers, like our elderly and childrenpays them poverty wages in their contracts,” stressed Senator Jessica Ramos, who supports some legislation that has been frozen. to make salary adjustments.

The hope to reverse this “historical injustice” is that through a state law a cost-of-living adjustment will be made for the 3.2% that includes this entire sector, through the approval of the law called ‘Pay Fair Now’. And that also creates a Human Services Employee Salary Board.

This group includes child and adolescent counselors, mental health and addictions program facilitators, halfway house caregivers, social workers, and other professionals who serve to the most vulnerable population in difficulties, who are hired by non-profit organizations.

It is estimated that 25% of this labor group has some university degree. And more than 57% are women of color.

The consequences are clear in the provision of services, since these essential organizations for some communities find it impossible to retain talented staff and offer efficient service.

On average, these workers earn $20,000 a year less than their counterparts in the government sector, with similar levels of education.

“Every day we are receiving and processing cases of people who are experiencing great difficulties. They don’t have anything to eat. Who live in atrocious poverty. Who have addictions. And it turns out that it is very easy for us to put ourselves in their place, because we know what survival is with salaries that are more than miserable,” he highlighted. Grisela Vallejo, a counselor at a drug addiction center in the Bronx.

An urgent review

The assemblyman’s proposal Harry Bronson forces a salary review that takes into account New York’s inflationary factors, to aim for “equity and parity” with the people who lend the same services in other industries.

“These workers work day in and day out to help others to make sure they have justice in their lives, that’s what they do for New York. It’s time for New York to step up and recognize its dignity once and for all.“, he noted.

As a group of protesters described this Monday at the State Assembly headquarters in Albany, “Salaries are so low that they often have to depend on the same public benefits that they provide to others.”

22% of this union, who in many cases are professionals, with some academic degree, They receive food stamps (SNAP).

“State government is not only the primary funder of human services, but also the primary driver of their salaries. Current contracts with the City and State of New York have resulted in this essential workforce, are among the lowest paid workers in the economy. It is unacceptable that they receive benefits that make it impossible for them to advance in their career,” the Human Services Council (HSC) which represents 175 suppliers, the vast majority with municipal or state contracts, and provide services to 2.5 million New Yorkers every year.

Of the thousands of after-school programs, daycares, counseling services, supportive housing, and care providers homeless shelter, eviction and domestic violence prevention programs, summer programs and other social services in the Big Apple, the municipal government directly administers only a small number.

The vast majority of these services reach the communities through nonprofit providers.

The data:

  • 9 out of 10 human services are provided by a contractor, including almost all services for seniors and youth, and most homeless services.

2024-03-12 10:00:00
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