New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News NYC Council bill would raise wages for human services workers by Shant Shahrigan

NYC Council bill would raise wages for human services workers

Nonprofits that get city contracts to provide human services would have to give their employees raises, under a bill set to be introduced in the City Council on Thursday.

The legislation would help facilitate a “worker-led recovery” from the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the bill’s prime sponsor.

While the city relies on nonprofits to hire people to work for homeless shelters, senior centers, youth centers, helping people get housing, doing job training with youth, summer camp operators and assistance with food stamps, many members of the roughly 200,000-strong workforce earn low wages — about $29,600 per year as of 2017, according to a report from a coalition of human services providers.

Women make up 82% of human services workers, according to stats cited by Kallos. Out of those women, 80% are people of color, he said.

“We need to actually invest in paying our Black and Brown human service workers and women of color a prevailing wage so that they can afford to live in the city,” he told the Daily News.

He estimates the legislation would raise human services workers' salaries 10% and cost the city $279 million.

Last year, the city enacted a bill raising wages for building service workers.

Council members Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) are co-sponsoring Kallos’s bill.

Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.