Governor Cuomo’s administration announced on February 24th that by December 31, 2015, the tipped minimum wage will be $7.50 in New York State. This is in response to over 2,000 emails to the New York State Department of Labor, rallies, and public testimonies. As a result of the two-tiered wage system that is currently in place service workers are forced to live off of tips for the bulk of their take-home pay. This is a huge victory for wage equality and fair wages for restaurant servers, hotel housekeepers and other tipped employees in New York.
On Friday, February 27, 2015, the New York City Council’s Committee on Immigration held a hearing on labor trafficking in the domestic worker industry. Alice Davis, staff attorney in the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program, testified on the need for adequate training the law enforcement agencies that are most likely to encounter victims of trafficking, to create uniform policies for interviewing victims, and clarifying the role of advocates during investigations.
A recent study by Hoftstra University found that there are over 11,000 victims of human trafficking in New York alone. Yet, since 2007, only 37 victims have been confirmed by New York law enforcement agencies to receive emergency assistance and other benefits. Based on this discrepancy, Council Member Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration, stated that, “It is clear that more needs to be done to improve the lives of labor trafficking victims.”
The Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program assists victims of labor trafficking by representing them in civil litigation for wage violations and other claims arising out of their employment, as well as assisting them in applications for T visas.
For more information on the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program please click here.
On October 28th, community members gathered for the Queens Tenant Monthly Meeting. Over 100 people participated in the event and several CMS partner organizations were present such as the Riis Settlement House, Catholic Charities, Fidelis Health Care, and JASA.
We were joined by two presenters: Joby Thovalil, the campaign organizer from the New Economy Project, spoke in regards to passing legislation that prohibits employers from running a credit check on potential and current employees. Bitta Mostofi, the director of the Municipal ID Outreach Campaign, discussed the new Municipal ID program. This program provides a form of photo identification for every New York City resident, despite immigration status. Residents can apply for a Municipal ID beginning January 1, 2015.