New York, NY - Septeber 5, 2014 - Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today released the following statement on fast food workers across New York State and the United States going on strike in support of raising the minimum wage and the right to join a union:
“It is time to say unequivocally that nobody who works 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty, and this starts with raising the minimum wage. I applaud the fast food workers across New York State who are standing up for their rights and fighting for a living wage. I stand in solidarity with these workers and support their efforts to raise the minimum wage and their right to join a union.
“Whether fighting cases of wage theft or employer retaliation, the New York State Attorney General’s office will continue to stand up for workers’ rights. From the Square Deal of Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive reforms of Fiorello LaGuardia to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, New York has long been a pioneer in the struggle for workers’ rights. We must continue this legacy and be a national leader in building and protecting the middle class.”
Workers in 150 cities across the United States have organized a nationwide strike. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant workers earn an average hourly wage of $8.74. Annually, this would amount to $18,179.20. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the poverty level for a family of four is $23,000 a year.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Schneiderman issued a report chronicling the work of his office in protecting New York’s workers. Highlights of the report, titled Standing Up For Working New Yorkers, include:
- Protecting the rights of fast food and car wash workers;
- Enforcing the prevailing wage laws, which require a higher rate of pay for construction and maintenance of governmental buildings;
- Combating unlawful employer retaliation against employees who have stood up for their rights;
- Criminally prosecuting employers who commit egregious violations, showing extreme disregard for workers’ basic rights and the rule of law;
- Innovating to protect workers who are not covered by traditional labor laws; and
- Protecting workers in a digital world.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman believes that in New York, there must be equal justice under law and one set of rules for everyone. He encourages every worker who feels that his/her rights have been violated to contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Labor Bureau by calling (212) 416-8700 or visiting the Office of the Attorney General's website.
Image by Rob Owen-Wahl via Free Images.