The US are recovering from the harsh economic crisis, but its effects are still felt by most American households. Recent reports show that income inequality is at the highest levels ever recorded. Even if the number of jobs lost during the recession has been recovered, the new ones offer lower wages. Excluding inflation rate, the American middleclass has not received a raise for a long time. Now households have to regularly postpone large acquisitions for times when jobs are more secure and better paid.
Some mayors decided that it’s time to take a stand and do the right thing, raise the minimum wage. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio promised during the campaign that he will match the minimum wage with the living wage.
He will sign an administrative order on Tuesday to raise the living wage from $10.3 to $11.5 in the case of workers who receive health insurance and other benefits. For those who have to pay their own insurances, the wage will go from $11.9 up to $13.13.
The measure will cover up to 18,000 employees over the next five years and will apply to workers hired by companies who receive at least $1 million in city subsidies. Because of some exceptions, the measure will apply to just 70 percent of the employees.
“We cannot continue to allow rampant and growing income inequality,” de Blasio told The New York Times. “Every tool counts. If we reach 18,000 families with this tool and get them to a decent standard of living, that’s a game-changer for those families.”
Bill de Blasio will actually extend a measure from 2012 that covered 1,200 jobs so far. Around 4,000 fast-food workers may end up benefiting from the latest policy. Now they earn around $8, close to the state minimum. The new living wage will add $10.000 to their annual income.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was reluctant towards giving New York City the permission to locally adjust the minimum wage, because it would create chaos at state level. Later on, his view changed and now he supports municipalities with higher costs of living to adjust the minimum wage accordingly. He agreed to raise the minimum wage at state level up to $10.1, allowing New York City to add up to 30 percent on top.
Seattle and San Francisco administrations already approved to raise the minimum wage to $15, while Los Angeles will raise it up to $13.25 by 2017.