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Faith Community Delivers Thousands of Post Cards in Support of Living Wage
Taylor Leake

November 24, 2010
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Back in October we told you about the Living Wage Weekend, where labor advocates, local politicians, and the faith community came together to demand a living wage in New York City. It was part of the Living Wage NYC campaign which is pushing for a living wage for city employees. Over 80 congregations across the city took part in the day, giving sermons about economic justice, educating congregants about the living wage, and recruiting the community to sign thousands of post cards to their city council members urging them to pass the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. And that day was just the beginning.

Last week all those post cards were taken directly to the city council. About 100 members of the clergy lead a silent procession to city hall where they delivered the post cards. They were joined by labor leaders, community activists, and the members of their congregations holding signs that read "NOW IS THE TIME."

New York City spends about $2 billion of taxpayer money a year on contractors. Often these jobs pay poverty level wages. The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act would ensure that any contractor who takes tax payer money from the city pay their workers a living wage. More than 45 cities already have such a living wage, and the labor and faith communities in New York City think it is about time New York did too. Reverend Jesse T. Williams of the Convent Avenue Baptist Church explains why he is behind the fight for a living wage: "If developers and the rich benefit from our tax dollars, they should pay a wage that allows people to live with dignity, be able to feed their family and provide a safe, clean place to live.”

Thanks to the efforts of Living Wage NYC, the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act is gaining support. Twenty-eight city council members have signed on in support of the bill. The faith community has also thrown its support behind the bill. It has been endorsed by a growing number of organizations including Clergy United for Community Empowerment, Queens Federation of Churches, and The Baptist Ministers' Conference for Greater New York and Vicinity.

Living Wage NYC is taking this momentum and running with it. They have already planned their next day of action for January 13th, 2011, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but if you think New York City should have a living wage and don't want to wait until January to do something about it, sign this petition urging Mayor Bloomberg to sign the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.