Human Service Workers Deserve a Living Wage: Tell Governor Cuomo by 2/27

Do you believe that the people who provide services for the homeless, the hungry, victims of domestic violence, and other social services deserve a Living Wage? Throughout the state of New York, many of these workers can’t even get basic Cost of Living (COLA) raises because the state hasn’t funded them. Stand with us and tell New York that human services workers deserve fair pay!

  • If you’re a woman working in the human service non-profit sector ANYWHERE in the State of New York (as an employee, a Board member or client), please sign this letter asking the Governor to fulfill his promise on delivering for women across New York by investing in non-profit human services organizations since the sector’s workforce is 80% women;
  • If you are a community member living ANYWHERE in the State of New York, please make a quick call to Governor Cuomo’s Comment Line (518-474-8390) anytime during the day and tell the Governor, in a recorded message, that:
  • The state hasn’t been paying enough for human services workers to keep up with inflation over the past ten years, much less earn a real Living Wage;
  • Make human services Cost of Living funding a budget priority this year and every year.
  • And of course, leave your name and contact info.

Human services non-profits are part of the heart of our society. They do the hard work of providing safety net services, on the ground, in every community. For those that are contracted by the state of New York, though, un-funded statutory COLA mandates keep them from giving employees the raises they deserve. Here at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, we’re painfully aware that this stands in the way of these workers coming close to earning the Living Wage. To achieve the local Living Wage Minimum Wage that we are working to create, our state-funded non-profits deserve at least the COLA New York is withholding from their employees. A lot of them want to give Living Wage raises NOW, and New York is basically saying the state won’t let them.

Not only that, but this inaction by the state directly keeps wages low for precisely the workers who the state’s non-discrimination laws are supposed to guarantee equal economic opportunities. Fully 81 percent of these non-profit human services workers are women. The non-profit workforce contains proportionally more people of color, immigrants, and other historically marginalized workers than many other sectors.

The average New Yorker earns $67,500 a year, the average human services worker in New York earns $27,800. The Tompkins County Living Wage is $31,429.

For eight of the past ten years, Governor Cuomo has not funded the statutory COLA. That has kept an estimated $707 million from human services workers throughout the state. That has to change, and that’s why the Tompkins County Workers’ Center as part of the Strong Nonprofits for a Better New York Coalition are pushing for the state to fund basic cost of living raises for these workers.

Will you join us and tell the state that the people who care for the state’s people deserve to earn a basic living?