Mayor Bill DeBlasio has signed an order that increases the minimum wage of some workers from 11.90 to 13.13. This order applies to companies that work with the city, not all workers in the city. Laura Clawson of Daily Kos sees the move as a way to put pressure on state government to increase the minimum wage throughout the state. She quotes Governor Cuomo who said that a state-based increase leads to “a chaotic situation.” Mayor DeBlasio is leading. Hopefully the governor will follow.
Common Dreams offers a great essay by Laura Flanders that explores the success of worker-owned cooperatives. Flanders links a successful coop for home healthcare workers with New York City’s recent investment in promoting such business models. Workers in coops share the profits and collaborate to decide how the business will run. How does this benefit workers? In one case, a worker was able to move from a $6.25 minimum wage job to making $25 an hour as part of a coop. There are only 300 coops currently operating in the U.S. Hopefully we will see many more in the future.
Yes magazine explores the ways people work together to enhance the common good. It reports that there is good news out of New York City, where the City Council has appropriate $1.2 million to support worker-owned cooperatives. Though the fund is small and is predicted to create fewer than 250 jobs, it helps set a model for other cities. In 2013, Yes outlined the ways worker-owned and other co-ops are changing the economy. In a time when Wall Street is booming and large corporations are merging, it’s refreshing to see that some people are building an alternative economy, one where workers can have some say in how a business is run. If you’re looking to start a business, see if co-ops are legal in your state. They might be a good way to have a successful business in which all workers will “take ownership.”
First Seattle – now the Big Apple. Huffington Post reports that the New York state legislature is debating a measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 and enable New York City to set its own minimum wage. According to the article, the income of a minimum wage worker would increase by $100 a week. Low wage workers would spend that money, which would help improve the economy.
Will some jobs be lost if the minimum wage is increased. Probably. But other jobs will be created because of that extra $100 a week in people’s pockets. An increased minimum wage will also spur employers to increase the pay of other hourly workers. President Obama put it best: “America needs a raise.”