Making enough money to survive in New York City is challenging for many, especially for those struggling at the lowest end of the pay scale. Every day tens of thousands of low wage workers in New York City must ask themselves these difficult questions: Which utility should I pay this month: the telephone or the gas? Should I walk to work -- more than an hour -- to avoid the $5.00 round trip subway cost? How will I afford to feed my family?
New York Communities Organizing Fund, Inc. (NYCOFI) and New York Communities for Change (NYCC) surveyed low wage workers in a variety of industries around New York City to get a real-world view of life in one of the most expensive cities in the country. This paper makes specific recommendations that are informed by employment statistics, an analysis of the supports that are available to workers, and our own research in the field.
We hope this paper will be a starting place for those low wage workers organizing for better conditions. We also hope it will be a factual source for those policy makers working for better conditions for low wage workers. In a city with so much wealth, no one should be struggling day-to-day just to get by.