March 25


Community Op-Ed: Giving a Raise for New York City’s Human Services Workers

March 25, 2024

Vol. 104 No. 13

When I was a child, my family lived on the edge of homelessness. My five siblings and I would go to school with black trash bags full of our clothes in case we were evicted from our apartment. I am mayor of the City of New York today because human services workers were there to support my family when we needed it most. Standing up for these workers as their mayor is not just a professional concern for me; it is personal, too.

But it wasn’t just my family. Human services workers were there for all of us during the pandemic. When so many were in isolation, they were endangering their health as they worked with New Yorkers in need. Today, they are helping our neighbors get mental health care, connecting our homeless brothers and sisters with housing, running community centers across the five boroughs, caring for asylum seekers, and so much more.

This work is 24/7. It can be thankless, and it is often mentally and physically exhausting, but it is absolutely essential. It is no exaggeration to say that these men and women are the hands and hearts of New York City. We owe them everything.

When we came into office two years ago, we had a mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable for everyday New Yorkers. But for too long, the pay of our human services workers has not even kept up with the rising cost of living. Last week, we changed that by once again delivering on our vision to make this city more livable and putting money back into the pockets of these working-class New Yorkers.

We announced that our administration will be investing $741 million to deliver fair wages for the more than 80,000 nonprofit employees working within this city — finally giving our human services workers the pay raise they have earned. This will amount to a 9.27 percent pay increase over the next three years. This was a day one priority of our administration, and it is going to lift up a workforce that is majority women and women of color.

If you dedicate your life to serving New Yorkers, we should make sure that you get paid fairly. Because of this new investment and past wage enhancements we made for the sector, we have now invested $1.4 billion to improve pay for human service workers. This is how we build equity and give workers the support they deserve. And this is what it looks like to help our nonprofit partners attract and retain top talent going forward.

This announcement builds on our administration’s track record of standing with working-class New Yorkers and not only ensuring that they get paid fairly for their hard work, but also finding ways to get more money back in their pockets. In two years, we have negotiated historic contracts with unions representing 95 percent of the city’s workforce and 100 percent of the city’s uniformed workforce, and we have hit this milestone faster than any administration in modern history.

We also fulfilled a campaign pledge to work with Albany lawmakers and secure an enhancement of the New York City Earned Income Tax Credit, benefitting over 800,000 families and strengthening the city’s social safety net. That’s money for families to put towards rent, bills, and groceries. As part of our multi-billion child care blueprint, we reduced the per child co-payment or out-of-pocket cost of subsidized child care for a family of four earning $55,000 a year from $55 a week in 2022 to $4.80 a week. Now, parents don’t have to decide between their career or child care.

I am proud to be a blue-collar mayor, and by offering fair pay, we are creating a fairer and more equitable city for all. By delivering on our vision for a more livable city, we are ensuring that New York City is not only the greatest city in the world to live, but also one of the greatest places to work, especially for those who sacrifice so much for all of us.

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