Live Updates (Eastern Time)
- 5:25pm: Interfaith clergy for economic justice getting ready to speak and crowds are still pouring in to Union Square. Huge turnout so far. If you are in New York, it isn't too late to head there now! In Chicago, the teachers union is picketing the school district while preparing for the #RaiseTheWage rally.
- 6:00pm: Labor leaders giving shout-outs to #OWS, saying "we are car wash, airport, supermarket, laundry, retail, ConEd and restaurant workers - and we are all together! We are the 99%!" Meanwhile in Philly, Occupy Philadelphia reports: "The livable wage rally is currently occupying The Gallery." (Photos below)
- 6:30pm: Massive cheers echo in Manhattan as TWU (the transit workers union) joins the lively march of thousands on way to ConEd to support locked out workers there.
- 7:15pm: NYPD are keeping the demo at ConEd HQ penned in behind barricades; undeterred, the coalition of union labor and low-wage workers continues to make tons of noise. Despite the demo having a permit, NYPD spotted with riot gear and flexi-cuffs around the corner.
- 7:45pm: Marchers headed to various area car washes to demand owners stop stealing wages from workers, and to Capital Grille to protest wage theft and discrimination. Tons of photos from the march added below the cut! Check back later for even more. What an amazing day of actions!
Full schedule of the day and the 99 Pickets actions
More background info
Chicago is also marching to raise the minimum wage today at 4:30pm Central Time.
Why are we marching today? For one, Obama promised during his campaign to raise the minimum wage each year after he took office. He has yet to do it even once. In every state in the United States, it is literally impossible to afford rent while working minimum wage even if you have a full time job. The minimum wage has been increased only 3 times in the last thirty years – not even enough to account for inflation.
It is time: We demand a living wage now! Here are a few more facts about the minimum wage, also courtesy of NY Workers Rising:
- Over the past 10 years the minimum wage has remained stagnant while CEO pay has increased by 725%
- Minimum wage jobs are the fastest growing sector in New York, with the number of workers being paid minimum wage increasing ten-fold over the past five years to 91,000.
- 66% of Car Wash workers interviewed reported receiving the legal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Only 5 workers reported being paid the difference if their tips and salary didn’t amount to $7.25 per hour.
- Over 55% of those earning less than $8.50/hour statewide and 58% of those earning less than $8.50 per hour upstate are female.
- In New York State, approximately 487,000 women would be guaranteed to get a raise if the minimum wage were to be increased to $8.50 per hour.
- In New York City, 78% of those earning less than $8.50 per hour are people of color.
- Latino residents of New York City are the most likely to see an increase in pay, with nearly 49% of all Latino workers earning less than $8.50 per hour.
- African Americans in New York City would be the second largest beneficiary of a higher minimum wage, with over 22% of African American residents making less than $8.50 per hour.
- Even with two incomes, a family of 4 where both parents earn minimum wage, earns about $30,160 per year, assuming no time off. Not much about the $23,050 poverty line, especially if a family member gets sick and one person has to take time off.
- Over 84% statewide and 92% in New York City of the residents making less than $8.50 an hour are 20 years of age or older.
- New Yorkers ages 16-19 make up barely 16% of the statewide and 8% of the New York City workforce making less than $8.50 per hour.
- Average estimated all-in costs (including tuition, room and board, books, personal expenses, transportation) for a SUNY student living on campus is $21,120. A student attending classes and working 20 hours per week would make merely $7,540. This guarantees that a student would require significant financial aid, if they were able to afford school at all.
- The current pre-tax annual income of a worker earning minimum wage ($7.25) for a full-time (40 hours/week) job – assuming no time off – would provide $15,080.
Union Square, today