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Priciliano Hernandez Brooklyn, New York

We need a living wage in NY

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My name is Priciliano Hernandez. I am a member of the Workplace Justice committee at Make the Road NY. I have lived in New York for 30 years.

I came to this country to make a better future of myself. I have worked just about every type of construction job. When I arrived here, I thought workers in this country would receive better treatment – safe working conditions and a living wage. This has not been the case in my experience.

For much of my life here as a worker, I have made the minimum wage or just over the minimum wage. I often have to work more hours and sometimes pay my bills late because I live from check to check. Even my rock-bottom expenses like housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare and food are hard to pay for consistently.

This treatment of workers in our City and State is unacceptable. You can actually work a full time job and still fall below the federal poverty line. How could this be possible in a place that generates as much income as New York?

To build up New York, we have to put money back in worker’s pockets. Last year’s minimum wage increase did not go far enough. Our city and state can do better!