#RaiseTheWage

New York State and Washington, D.C. are officially on a path to $15/hour, but the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour is still much too low. Over 45 million Americans live in poverty, and wages are so low that a minimum wage worker working a 40-hour week cannot rent a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income*.

If we do not take action now to raise the wage, low wage workers and their families may never exit the cycle of poverty. That is why we at Amalgamated Bank were the first bank in the nation to raise our minimum wage to $15 per hour, and we call on all banks to do the same.

*Source: Out of Reach 2015, a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition

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Sign the petition

 

Dear Members of Congress:

There are 45.3 million hardworking Americans who live in poverty in part because the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is too low.

I support raising the minimum wage to a living wage.

No one who works full time should live in poverty.

By completing this petition, you acknowledge and agree that any stories submitted through this form, along with your first name and last initial, may be featured on Amalgamated Bank’s website and posted on its social media channels.
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The real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly a third since its peak in 1968. Currently, a full-time minimum wage worker makes approximately $15,000 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet.

Source: Council of Economic Advisors

See the stories

 

If we were able to earn a little more money, I’d have some more time to spend with my daughters and my grandson and it’d be easier to survive. My personal dream has always been to have a house. It’s a dream that I’ve never realized but if my daughters or even my grandson could make it happen, it’d still be a beautiful thing for me – even if I can’t accomplish it, if they did, it’d still be an amazing thing for my family."

Elva, laundromat worker

"Sometimes I think, ‘Is this what life’s supposed to be? Am I supposed to have a full-time job and still not be able to make it?’"

Jorel, fast-food worker

"I strongly feel people should be compensated for what they do.  People in New York work hard.  This is the city that never sleeps. I don’t want them [my kids] to struggle like me. I want them to have a better opportunity than I had. I want them to have fair opportunities. I want them to live their lives freely and do whatever it is that their hearts desire, you know, whatever they want to do."

Ciera, shipping company worker 

 

I earn very little money ($16 per hour) as a teacher at an ESL school. Because my salary is so low, I have been and still go to housing court. I know first-hand what it means to be unable to pay your bills and sustain yourself. I know the minimum wage would be lower than what I earn, but I also know that it's impossible to live earning less than $15 an hour.

Loretta C, Queens, NY

No one who works in America should be in poverty.

Trent H, NYC, NY

An increase in minimum wage will help families survive increasing costs of food, housing and health care. In the long run, it will be a positive for our economy.

Jacqueline A, Yonkers, NY

We need to treat working people as valuable and not slaves to the financial elite.

Judith B, Crossville, TN

I recently experienced being unemployed for an entire year. During that year, I worked temp positions that paid little more than minimum wage and it just isn't enough money to pay rent, medical, utilities, and food. I can't imagine families having to live on less than $15/hr.

DL T, New York, NY

There are too many Americans living with children in substandard housing, and not by choice. They are barely able to feed their children. They then must make a choice to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads--both of which are necessities!

Lisa T, Selma, AL

Raise the wage because at month's end no one should have to choose which basic obligation to meet – housing or food. In the year 2015, an hourly rate of less than $25 means a choice must be made keeping an individual at Maslow’s physiological level Hierarchy of Needs unable to strive to reach self-actualization constantly having to focus on the basics.

Marjorie P, Manhattan, NY

The United States needs a federal minimum wage that allows a decent standard of living for all.

Jean B, New York, NY

A family, organization, company, and nation is built by the hands of many. It may be lead by capable leaders who hold vision and perseverance, but the labor of those who build the vision into reality must not be an afterthought. They are necessary. Human dignity and such gross income equality cannot exist concurrently.

Marina T, Brooklyn, NY

It is often the case that people who have the most difficult jobs and work the hardest, are paid very low wages. This is unfair and disrespectful. Americans should be paid wages that will allow them to better provide for themselves and their families, be more independent and have a greater sense of worth. It can be very demeaning to a person who works long hours and is still unable to take care of the most basic of needs for themselves and their families. Raise the wage!

Dionne D, Brooklyn, NY

Too many people are working full-time, but still struggling. Everyone should be fairly compensated for working a job no matter what that job is and compensated in a way that allows them to adequately provide for their families.

Sara S, Brooklyn, NY

In order to provide for their family and afford to keep a roof over their family's heads.

Jennifer A, Brooklyn, NY

Fair is fair: How can we expect people to escape poverty if their wages barely pay for their housing? What about the other necessities of life like food and clothing... It is time for everyone to account for those who have the least, for they are our brothers and sisters too.

Raymond C, New York, NY

There must not be such a gap between rich and poor in our country.

Eunice L, New York, NY

Seriously? Do the math.

Barbara D, Ocean Grove, NJ

No one should work 40 hours a week and struggle to subsist.

Noelle Q, Haddonfield, NJ

I work can't afford food, clothes, and to take my kids out. It's very bad.

Andrea C, New York, NY

The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is embarrassing. We need to raise wages across the board.

David H, Brooklyn, NY

America is the land of opportunity. Every willing worker deserves a chance to become debt free and financially independent. And you simply can't accomplish that goal if you are earning crumbs.

Vesselene W, Brooklyn, NY

We need those who produce to receive just compensation. It's common knowledge -- backed by facts and stats -- that the top 1% don't work, they simply profit more and more from investments. Let's reward work, not passive accumulation!

Ronald G. M, New York, NY

I believe the minimum wage should be raised because America needs a change. Congress is always talking about the American dream, but are we as citizens really living it? No. We struggle everyday and we can not even afford a one-bedroom apartment without assistance. Where will America be in 20 years if we keep heading down this path? In New York especially, there are homeless families and regular people who were born here and do not have a good paying job and can't afford an apartment or even a meal. We talk about being free, but are we really?

Mildred M, Manhattan, NY

Because it's right and long overdue.

Steve S, New York, NY

I believe it is only fair that all Americans who work hard live above the poverty level. Thank you.

Rosemarie O, Bronx, NY

Besides the excess of poverty in this nation, rents keep rising in places like New York City where I live, and people can't afford to live decently anymore.

Leonard A, Far Rockaway, NY

Everywhere needs a raise, why not start here?!

John W, New York, NJ

I believe Americans can live a better life. I believe Congress can raise the minimum wage. No one should live in poverty.

Connie S, New York, NY

I believe in equal pay for equal work. America is a rich country. We can afford to do this. We as Americans waste a lot.

Elizabeth G, Norlina, NC

There are many single parents who have to provide for their households. A better cash flow would help keep families off of public assistance.

April P, Brooklyn, NY

If we fail to pay people a decent wage, we fail to give them purchasing power and succeed in increasing the burden on the rest of their fellow community members.

Joshua S, Rego Park, NY

Playing field needs leveling NOW.

Janine N, Brooklyn, NY

I'm a labor union and I believe that all workers should be paid fairly for the work they do.

Local 420 AFSCME ., New York, NY

Cost of living keeps going up far faster than wages. It's already nearly impossible to survive on minimum wage, much less thrive. Our citizens deserve a better quality of life than what minimum wage can buy them today--it's time to raise people up and keep them from falling further behind. It's our duty.

Holly W, Brooklyn, NY

No working person should be living in poverty or without health care.

Al Z, New York, NY

Higher wages make crime less attractive as an economic choice. More money in the hands of working people vitalizes the economy, unlike dead money sitting in trust funds. The money we use to raise the minimum wage isn't going to lead to people getting killed the way that military spending does.

Gregory O, North Merrick, NY

Most people in America need a raise in order to have the opportunity to live a happy and good life, which the current economic policies prohibit them from doing by unfairly distributing economic wealth to very few people who also did very little to earn it.

Elia G, New York, NY

We are the greatest nation in the world and the world's greatest American citizens should not be living in poverty and struggling earning $7.25 an hour. It is unacceptable and insufferable--people work very hard to make ends meet. Let's show the world that we are the greatest and that we do put the people first and always first!

Robert B, Bronx, NY

Food, shelter and schooling cost money, we need to raise the minimum wage significantly for people to live decently.

Wendy A, NYC, NY

A consumer economy is driven by consumption. If people can't afford to consume then our economy suffers. It is that simple.

Daniel M, St. Louis, MO

NO one who works period should live in poverty-full time or part time.

Rachel B, Brooklyn, NY

Our wages are at a level that has no connection to the cost of living.

C M A, New York, NY

So that each American can live a decent living.

Jack D, Rochester, NY

Nature of business is to benefit all stakeholders (i.e their communities), not just stockholders/executives. Corporate profits are far out of balance with wages. We need to move more towards European corporate system to prevent insanely high number of working poor.

Kyle F, Riverside, RI

Wages have remained relatively flat with respect to the cost of living for over thirty years. A strong economy must embrace a strong working class: economic strength doesn't come from financialization but from a nation's working people. A significant wage increase is decades overdue!

Karen H, New York, NY

Americans need a raise to $15 an hour to give our economy a huge shot in the arm!

Catherine C, Lake Elsinore, CA

To live more free from want.

David L, Huntsville, AL

No one who works full time should live in poverty.

Robert W R, Cottonwood, CA

Stagnant wages are hurting NY's residents!

Kellyn L, Brooklyn, NY

The current minimum wage creates a paradigm of inequality in which a large portion of society is unable to lead independent, fulfilling lives.

Joshua R, Philadelphia, PA

The cost of living increases regularly, but wages do not. Some families cannot afford the very basics of everyday living.

Sharon M, Bronx, NY

I truly believe it is the right thing to do.

Jon C, Reston, VA

There are too many New Yorkers and Americans living in poverty including myself and the people on top are not sharing enough of the wealth.

Karim M, New York, NY

This is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, yet people who work who are not receiving welfare or other help are living in poverty because they do not make enough to cover their basic needs. It is a crying shame and we should do what we can to end this cycle.

Rosalida M, Bronx, NY

The more people who can actively participate in the economy, the healthier the entire economy is. It is good for the workers themselves, it is good for their families, AND it is good for all the rest of us as well.

Ken T, Rockaway, NJ

Cost of living in New York is very high. The minimum wage is too low. It should be $20.00 per hour.

Janet B, Bronx, NY

Reduce inequality, create a living wage.

Ralph M, Roswell, GA

Because in a democracy such as ours there should not be such a large discrepancy between the annual incomes of the upper income brackets and the lower end of the income scale.

Richard C, New York, NY

It's the right thing to do!

Dennis G, Boise, ID

If you pay people with the lowest paying jobs more money, they rise above the poverty line, they live with dignity, they become more invested in their community, they spend more, there is less crime, and everyone benefits. It just seems like a no-brainer to me.

Traci E, New York, NY

Today in America, there is less access to economic development in rapidly growing technology fields. The vast majority of Americans' incomes are not enough to support continued investment in not just the economy of their lifetime, but also the infrastructure and future of all Americans. Raising the minimum wage breaks the cycle of poverty.

Daniel J, Fresh Meadows, NY

Wages are not in proportion to the cost of living anywhere let alone the minimum. This deficiency in pay scale to people's carrying cost is most readily apparent where the rents are highest in NY.

Russell F, New York, NY

Because any human being who works full time to afford his or her apartment, children, living expenses, and car payment deserves a raise.

Mary Z, Brooklyn, NY

If this country wants to be the best, it has to treat its citizens like they are the best. It is scandalous that lawmakers are getting huge salaries and many of their constituents are barely making ends meet. Raising the minimum wage will help families and be a step towards rebuilding our economy. By raising the minimum wage, parents may not have to work two and three jobs to make ends meet. They can spend more time with their children and help them to become better citizens. A wage increase is LONG OVERDUE. Do the right thing; bring back the American dream.

Virginia G, Bronx, NY

My daughters and granddaughters work two and three jobs as single moms to support their families. Health care is an issue too.

Maria M, Bronx, NY

The cost of living in the USA has been on a steady rise, and an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 would at least give workers a fighting chance.

Charles L, Bronx, NY

I was making $6.50 an hour in 1983. That's why.

Richard M, Blaine, WA

The middle class is collapsing and America's impoverished are suffering. Those in want of care deserve to be treated as equals. It is near impossible to make something of oneself or to reach for the stars if one spends all one's time struggling to feed one's family, pay rent, and find healthcare. An oligarchic America is no America at all; it is the death of democracy. That is why I support raising the wage.

Christopher R, Lee, NH

Better for people, better for families, better for communities.

Paige E, Irvine, CA

I have been living in a New York City shelter for four years and I still haven't been able to save enough money to rent an apartment because my income is so low that I just cannot afford it. We need to raise the minimum wage.

Miguel M, New york, NY

Working Americans need a fair wage. Raise the minimum wage to give dignity to those who labor for themselves, their families, and America.

Terence M, New York, NY

Amalgamated Bank is setting an example showing that U.S. business can afford a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Ursula L, Newburgh, NY

You cannot live on current minimum wage. It must be raised immediately. States have done it with only positive results.

Kenneth S, Pottstown, PA

How can big corporations get bailed out and not help out their employees, many who have lost their homes??

Maisha G, Miami, FL

Capital depends on its own circulation; wage-earners who can't spend their wages have to rely on systems of credit, which exaggerate debt until it becomes public; life and liberty are unaffordable on current minimum wages.

James W, Saint Louis, MO

We will never have a healthy economy unless the working class has decent wages so they will have power to acquire better goods. If you want to preserve the capitalist system, make it accessible to all and then it will bloom!

Sharonah F, Bronx, NY

Raising the minimum wage is actually the best way to enhance the American economy by increasing the spending capabilities of the majority of American workers. In addition, while we recognize the needs of the super wealthy in the American economy for even more and more money, a close look at their finances reveals that they will make even more money if more Americans have the income to purchase corporate manufactured goods, food, housing and education.

Laurin R, New York, NY

Everyone that has a family or not, has a problem if their wages are $7.25 an hour. It costs $2.35 to ride the bus one way. THAT SCHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING .

William G, New York City, NY

I believe it's time because the cost of living has sky rocketed!! I have two children who recently graduated from college. It is almost impossible for them to build a life here in NY with wages being what they are.

Brenda C, Garnervill, NY

Because it is the right thing to do! And it should be even higher!

Ricardo P, Sacramento, CA

One person cannot live on $7.25 per hour, much less raise a family. Let's make the right and fair move for our hourly workers and give them a living wage.

Walter H, Brooklyn, NY

When wages are stagnant, workers can't spend. They can't direct their money to what they really want and are always busy paying for yesterday. It's an unhealthy situation.

Paul H, Larchmont, NY

Wages for those making the minimum have been stagnant for too long. Inflation and the cost of living in general have all gone up and wages haven't kept pace. It's time for an across the board increase.

Theodora B, Bronx, NY

Without a doubt, Americans need this to happen NOW!

Diane S, New York, NY

One should be able to afford a vibrant life when working full time.

Jaime S, Brooklyn, NY

The cost of living is very expensive.

Noel P, Bronx, NY

Basically to allow working people to catch up to the high cost of living--it would help enormously if price controls were also put in place in some sectors as well.

James K, Brooklyn, NY

America needs to be like other countries of the world in order to have a better form of society. As a country the citizens in the daily workings of what makes this country great are suffering. Slowly but surely everyone is facing the strains of the collapsing economy and the unsustainable living practices we have within. Changing the economic status of many Americans and closing the gap between the rich and the poor will greatly restore the "American Dream".

Yakub M, Jamaica, NY

Why not? Everything else is going up. How are we to survive?

Carmen Q, New York, NY

Businesses need to be organized so that their employees can afford to live and eat and support a family.

Pat C, Brooklyn, NY

Hard-working people should be compensated fairly AND, at the very least, be able to afford basic necessities. By raising the wage, we're raising people from a life of poverty. With this small step, we can make great strides.

Patricia P, Brooklyn, NY

Keeping the minimum wage low is a new way of slavery. Either lower rents and housing costs, and transportation costs and food costs or raise wages. Simple. Some people who work hard cannot afford to live, because greedy corporations take all the profits and do not share with the workers who make the profits for them.

Maureen P, New York, NY

I believe the minimum wage should be raised so that families can survive.

Vera C, Bronx, NY

Our most serious economic problem is the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the shrinking middle class which threatens the American way of life and our democracy.

Arthur K, New York, NY

It is the right thing to do. I believe that for far too long the American public has turned a blind eye to the socio-economic problems of our society. I support this effort by Amalgamated Bank 100%!

Derrick H, Brooklyn, NY

When you raise the minimum wage you give hope to poor & middle income families, many of whom are one paycheck away from losing what little they have!

I.E. H, Mt. Vernon, NY

The facts stated! Let's stop poverty once & for all!

Cynthia M, Brooklyn, NY

The current minimum wage is not a living wage for a single person, let alone a family of two or more people.

Abigail C, Brooklyn, NY

The minimum wage offered now is not enough to support one person let alone a family. This is why we have a few millionaires and millions of very poor people unable to support themselves, some of whom are living on the streets. Let's bring our country into the 21st century.

Shirley C, San Diego, CA

If you reduce ridiculous CEO bonuses, you can easily raise low pay rates, especially for workers in big corporations! In any case, the national minimum wage should be raised to reflect 3.5% annual cost of living increases. Thanks.

Jessica G, South Windsor, CT

Hard working people need to be able to support themselves & family.

Judith C, New York, NY

No one who works forty hours a week should be living below the poverty line.

Gene K, Brooklyn, NY

Because everything in NY is increasing (from rent to basic necessities) and not the wages. How can we expect to progress as a state or country if we do not help our own people?

Carol R, Fresh Meadows, NY

The minimum wage should be sufficient for a full-time worker not to live an impoverished life. Today, the $7.25 federal minimum is impoverishment.

Toby H, Brooklyn, NY

Americans must have wages in order to afford to live. Workers need to be paid a minimum of $20.00 an hour to live comfortably in this life.

Agustin R, Miami Beach, FL

Cost of living is going up! You've got to work two or three jobs.

Doreen D, New York, NY

A vast majority of persons living in Brooklyn live below the poverty line. Kids can't function properly at schools because their parents or family can't afford a better living condition. The lives of our kids should matter.

Ferdinand T, Brooklyn, NY

A person who is working a forty-hour week should be able to support him or herself, and two adults working full-time should be able to support a family.

Herbert G, Elizabeth, NJ

Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour now will be a big boost for our whole economy.

David J, Elmhurst, NY

The cost of living has gone up. Now it is virtually impossible to support one's self, much less one's family, on the present minimum wage. Either bring the cost of living down or raise the wage to meet today's cost of living!

Tony T, Passaic, NJ

As stated, we all work to improve our lot in life and $15 an hour will certainly help us live a better life and possibly put something away for a rainy day. There's nothing like peace of mind and living a less stressful life and being happier will affect other areas of people's lives.

Sidney M, Bronx, NY

In the long run, the vast majority of the people in our country do not benefit from a large group of people who are living in poverty. It causes suffering for (almost) all of us.

Melissa C, Brooklyn, NY

Americans work harder than any nation, and can't live on $7.25 an hour. Raise the minimum wage!

Susan D, New York, NY

They need more money so they can pay their bills. Everything you buy is too much money. The rent is crazy, food, clothes... $20 an hour is very good...

Maria I, Long Island City, NY

Because the income gap is staggering! And it's affecting the fundamental democratic principles of our country.

Meg C, Long Beach, CA

In order to ensure that working class Americans are able to sustain their families and themselves in a reasonable lifestyle

Wayne E, Bronx, NY

I grew up in Australia where people are paid a living wage. I have always been shocked and dismayed that people can work 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week in the US and not earn enough to support themselves and their families. The US is a rich country, but the wealth is concentrated among a small group of people. The US would truly be a rich nation if the wealth was distributed more evenly. And I suspect that it would also unify the country and make it a more peaceful place to live.

Ruth P, New York, NY

Our country depends for its place in the world on a stable population that enjoys the benefits of work, security and opportunity. Since wages provide most people with their only access to things that I consider basic human rights, like health care, education, shelter and food, those wages must meet the costs.

Nancy H, New York, NY

This change needs to happen because I am personally going through it. Spending hours helping establishments make money to provide for their families and their greed but I can't afford my rent comfortably. This needs to stop and a change needs to happen.

Alanna B, Bronx, NY

Help chip away at the poverty level! A micro step toward parity.

John and Diane M, Staten Island, NY

Everyone is entitled to a living wage!

Constance D, New York, NY

Everyone deserves a living wage. Period.

GW H, New York, NY

If America is to remain a democracy than all its people need to have the right to live with dignity. Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided cannot stand." I believe that this applies to economics also.

Louise T, New York, NY

Because everything is so expensive, especially housing, that its hard to keep up with the bills if you don't have a decent wage.

Olga C, New York City, NY

There is entirely too much difference between the lowest paid and the highest paid. In fact, reduce the pay of the CEOs who now get 400x what workers get. That is a calumny. Yes, raise the bottom. Yes, lower the top.

Grace F, Truro, MA

We who live above the poverty line find life affordable, in part, because we're subsidized by the workers who do minimum-wage or sub-minimum-wage work for us -- in the fields, in the sweatshops here or abroad, in the discount stores, and in the prisons. These are our brothers and sisters. I don't want privileges paid for by my brothers' and sisters' toiling in hopeless misery.

John Jeremiah E, Richmond, IN

Cuz a girl's gotta eat.

Leslie M, Pasadena, CA

It's way overdue and absolutely needed and necessary.

Sylvia E, Bronx, NY, NY

No one can support their family on today's minimum wage.

Diane E, Washington, DC

A living wage for America's workers is what has made America great.

Ruth K, Brooklyn, NY

It is impossible to support oneself, let alone a family on $7.25 and with rising rent and grocery costs.

Julie C, New York, NY

People need a livable wage in the united states, families need to be above the poverty line.

Richard R, Corona, NY

Common sense! C'mon people!

Mitch V, New York, NY

No person who works full time should have less than a livable wage. No needed job should be viewed without dignity. Raising the minimum wage will help the community, benefit social security and Medicare, help reduce the gap between rich and poor and reduce government expenditure on SNAP and other wage supports.

Ronald M, New York, NY

There is no way to live on the current minimum wage.

Janice A, Flushing, NY

Ordinary working people deserve a living wage. No one who works full time should live in poverty.

Gusti B, New York, NY

There are hard working people who make our lives a little easier. They have to pay rent, food, electricity, tuition for their children and need to earn a living wage with a little left over to have a little fun. $7.25 per hour wouldn't pay for a hot dog never mind rent.

Judith K, New York, NY

There is no justification for paying people less than they need to survive. In many parts of this country, the current minimum wage is not even close to what people need to make ends meet. This is a disgrace. I call on anyone who opposes this to try living on the current minimum wage.

Aaron S, New York, NY

Because the wealth gap is widening, which means most people are getting poorer while few are more and more extremely rich.

Safiyyah O, Brooklyn, NY

Taxpayers are subsidizing corporations that should be paying a living wage to their workers; let us put an end to welfare for the wealthy.

Kate T, Brooklyn, NY

More pay = more money circulating in the economy. But even more, we seem to handicap our poor. Welfare reform? Fine, but don't worry about child care for newly working mothers. Food stamps? OK, but don't worry about all the kids going hungry because some in Washington, D.C., believe there is fraud. (Why is the word 'fraud' never mentioned when speaking about corporate welfare?) You can go on and on, sadly. To pay everyone a decent, living wage is a first step.

Jennifer D, New York, NY

It's criminal to expect people to be able to support themselves on the current minimum wage especially when the government is given to corporate bail-outs and minimal taxes for the wealthy 1%. It is time that the government stops holding back the multitudes for the sake of a few. RAISE MINIMUM WAGE!

Karen M, New York, NY

Families need to be able to take care of their families without asking for charity from governmental agencies who don't seem to hear the cry of the poor. This wage increase will help all families and better the quality of life for them.

Van W, Brooklyn, NY

This is the richest country in the world. People from all over come here to fulfill the American dream. That cannot be done earning $7.25 an hour. Americans are hard workers who deserve better.

Peter A, Bronx, NY

No one but no one can live, let alone save for a rainy day, on the current minimum wage. We are, we must be, a better people than that.

Gene N, New York, NY

No one should work 40 hours a week and qualify for food stamps and other subsidies. This amounts to an admission that the current minimum wage is too low. It's wage slavery and exacerbates intergenerational poverty. Please do the right thing and raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

Tavoria K, New York, NY

It is the decent thing to do.

Dennis W, Bronx, NY

America is slowly becoming a country of poverty.

Marcia R, Mount Vernon, NY

Because it's the right thing to do. End of story.

Lee B, Hoboken, NJ

Prices of housing, goods and clothing have been going up for years and most companies do not give sufficient cost of living increases. Families these days have fewer children because it is hard to afford a big family and younger people cannot survive on low minimum wages.

Tara R, NEW YORK, NY

Cost of living is constantly going up but wages are not. Families can't live on the current minimum wage. Can't cover all the expenses of rent, utilities, and food.

Amelia M, Ridgewood, NY

Too many reasons to go into here in terms of the unfair and widening wage gap, the health of the economy (people need money not only to live, but to buy things and keep the U.S. Engine chugging along) - but to sum it up succinctly: Because it's the right thing to do.

Ruth S, New York, NY

I am a financial advisor to the working poor. The families I speak with are often one parent, usually a woman, and two children. The parent works full time, often for minimum or a low wage. They also tend to end up in jobs with flexible hours where flexible is when the company tells you to be there. There's often no overtime here and if there is, the money goes to cover babysitters for the time the parent is working late. The parent basically is working for free because of that babysitter cost. But there's more to it than that. Parents aren't able to plan on doing homework with their kids or to meet with teachers or make time to obtain a tutor for a struggling kid. They certainly don't have time to attend school and improve their income. That's bad for now and for later. Their budget decisions consist of selecting between buying a new pair of shoes or a winter coat for their children this winter or food and medicine. So it's more than minimum wage; it's providing regular hours plus overtime AND it's about paying more than minimum wage if you have a flexible work arrangement. Parents can't be parents if they can't plan on taking care of and advocating for their kids. They can't have any hope and their children's lives are in jeopardy if they all live in fear of the day when something goes wrong and they're in debt. There aren't any options except a higher salary and a more fair work environment for the employee. I'd just add as an economist that a higher minimum wage is unlikely to result in inflation at this juncture. It could cause some loss of jobs overseas but probably not minimum wage jobs.

Meg B, New York City, NY

Increasing wages increases spending. Increased spending stimulates the economy. A stimulated economy increases general prosperity.

William S, New York, NY

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is too low, not having kept pace with inflation. The economy has been decimated by predatory lending practices of "too big to fail" institutions, shifting more financial resources to those who need it the least. Most new jobs nowadays are service sector, minimum wage. I would say that along with a higher minimum wage, a lower maximum wage would be helpful.

P. W, Bronx, NY

As immigrants we left our various home countries for a Gold Rush U.S.A. Now here we are finding ourselves in a very serious Financial Hardship, even when we work 40 to 80 hours a week. The families we left back home expect us to bring HEAVEN to them. WHAT SHALL WE SAY about our fellow Americans? We really don't want welfare, but we need Best Fare Well. Please Just Give us a Break by Raising the Federal Minimum Wage from $7.25 to $15.95. This will enable us pay all our taxes gracefully, get back on track, and be a good citizens.

Rose N, Bronx, NY

We need the raise! Everything is going up - rent, food, light, water, taxes on our buildings and water. Soon most of us who were born here will have to go some where else.

Theresa T, new york, NY

Hard working Americans should not have to live in poverty in this wealthy nation.

Sharon T, Flushing, NY

It seems so obvious. No one can live on $7.25/hour. Perhaps some members of Congress should try it and see how far they get.

Terry B, New York, NY

I suggest that you, Congressional Representative, agree to live (even for a trial period, say a year?), on the wage of $7.25, so that you can understand how undemocratic, how unrealistic, how cruel it is to keep so many American living in poverty.

Jane T, New York, NY

It's both unacceptable and immoral that millions of Americans work hard every day yet cannot afford to properly feed and shelter their families. We need to ensure that hard-working Americans receive a living wage.

Alexander G, Jackson Heights, NY

Yes, I agree that the minimum wage should be much higher. The least it should be is $15/hr. Our minimum wage should be $20/hr. With benefits. Employee pay has fallen way too far.

Ernst T, Brooklyn, NY

Living and equitable wages are non-negotiable. Raising the minimum wage = a more fair and equitable society!

Abigail W, Brooklyn, NY

The cost of living has gone up. Examples: rent; food; public transportation; but not wages.

Linda R, Bronx, NY

Because it's the right thing to do!

Adam C, Bronx, NY

Hard working people have been underpaid for too many years, and for too long. It's long overdue.

Dana S, Bronx, NY

We should at least raise the minimum wage to account for inflation, which has reduced its purchasing power greatly since the $7.25 level was set. It should then be automatically indexed to inflation.

Robert W, New York City, NY

Our federal minimum wage is so obviously, shamefully low, what anyone "believes" is irrelevant. Just do the math!

Janine D, New York, NY

Minimum wage is not a livable wage with the current real estate climate, especially in american cities such as NYC.

Gavin M, Brooklyn, NY

Everyone should be able to earn enough to feed and house their families without having to work more than one job. It is a disgrace that in the richest country in the world so many people live in poverty. The minimum wage should be replaced by a living wage. If anyone disagrees, try living on the current minimum wage for a while.

Aaron S, New York, NY

The cost of housing in NYC and outer boroughs is way out of control compared to the hourly wages of workers making minimum wages. This also goes for senior citizens on a fixed income.

Rosemary K, new york, NY

The minimum wage definitely needs to be raised for companies that pay employees or executives more than $300,000 per year. I understand that many small businesses might go bankrupt if they raise their wages, so it seems fair to focus on those with who are receiving unnecessarily high wages.

Claire F, Brooklyn, NY

Cost of living has gone up. People need to feed their families better meals and this can't be done with what they are earning

Andrea S, Laurelton, NY

The cost of living is rising all around us. Everyone wants to be able to take care of their families and have a decent place to live. I wonder how the people who are able to change the wage would feel if they earned the minimum wage!

Sonya S, Bronx, NY

People in this country deserve a living wage. The current $7.25/hour is not a living wage anywhere in the USA. In my opinion $12-15 is a more fare wage for hard working Americans.

Virginia H, New York, NY

It is time workers have a living wage. I am not sure why the MTA is against this.

Kenneth S, Pottstown, PA

So more working class families can provide for their families without falling beneath the poverty line.

Nadia C, Bronx, NY

The working people of our nation are the very foundation of democracy. The economic divisions between those of us who work (or worked) and those who reap the profits are way out of balance. Everyone deserves a living wage.

Kathleen M, New York, NY

Corporate profits are high and workers are doing the jobs of several people. The unfairness and imbalance has to stop! Successful companies should reward their workers, not nickel and dime them into a race to the bottom. Wages must go up!

Susan E, New York, NY

As a young adult making minimum wage at this moment, I can say that anyone trying to save money while going to school and working at minimum age won't be able to. There are so many bills to pay in New York that there's no money left over for anything else. My fiancé and I still live in my mother's house because we haven't been able to save any money with everything else we need to pay for. It feels like as soon as I get my paycheck it's gone the next day. Living like this is not going to work for me and I can't even save enough money to move away.

Sabrina G, Brooklyn, NY

The high cost of just the most basic food alone is more than enough to warrant a raise--not to mention how expensive every other necessity is.

Dorothy G, New York, NY

Because I believe that the cost of living is increasing aggressively. It is unfair to those who cannot keep up with these increases.

Rosemary P, North Bergen, NJ

America needs a raise to help people in poverty progress. The system is basically blind to these people and they are found stuck in one place. Everything has gone up: transportation, food, rent... how are all these people supposed to survive? With an increase in pay, people would avoid many hardships and commit fewer crimes. A lot of young teens find themselves lost and turn to stealing or doing illegal things to obtain extra money. Maybe a raise in the minimum wage can be an incentive to feeling supported and maybe they can be saved from feeling pressured and making poor choices.

Chary P, New York, NY

I believe we should raise the minimum wage because a lot of people like me can't afford to pay our phone and cable bills and buy food. Just paying for these basic needs can put us out on the streets begging. Workers deserve to be recognized and rewarded for sustained hard work.

Angel R, Bronx, NY

Every working American should be afforded a living wage. Why should anyone have to work a 9-5 for 5-6 days of the week and not be able to provide descent housing, food, and healthcare for his or her family?

Norma J, Bronx, NY

America and the American workers are struggling to pay bills, pay rent, buy food, pay for transportation, and medical coverage, at a minimum wage that will keep them at the poverty level. The Republican politicians, The special interests, the corporations, and the billionaires want to cut food stamps and Medicaid, all while they put billions in offshore banks to avoid taxes. American Workers are the 99%.

Gregory B, NewYork NY, NY

No one can live off minimum wage. Prices have gone up tremendously for rent, food, child care, and transportation. It is becoming more difficult everyday to make ends meet, live or even eat. Hard working parents raising kids have to choose between food, child care expenses and paying rent and bills due to such low wages.

Elizabeth R, Brooklyn, NY

Everything is elevated except pay wages. It is impossible to afford the rent rates in the state of New York being paid minimum wages. It is imperative to live in public housing (NYCHA) or some type of subsidized development. Everyone would love to get a chance at the AMERICAN DREAM, of perhaps owning their own home, condo, etc. The dream can perhaps become a reality with pay hikes.

Shirley N, New York, NY

I believe America needs a raise because everything is expensive. The cost of living is expensive, rents are too high, the cost of food is high--people are working like slaves and still can't make ends meet.

Taina M, Bronx, NY

Most people in this country CANNOT AFFORD TO LIVE!

David S, New York, NY

Long overdue!

Charlie S, New York, NY

People cannot survive on the current minimum wage. Most of the time these people work extremely hard and do not have much to show for it. Please raise the minimum wage. It is the right thing to do.

Maggi R, Bronx, NY

No one should have to work a full time job and still live in poverty. The year is 2015, not 1950. Regular Americans deserve a raise!

Jacob C, Brooklyn, NY

A living minimum wage is just common sense to boost the economy.

Ismael L, Highland, CA

I believe America needs a raise because of the high cost of rent and other necessary amenities. $7.25 an hour is a travesty. $15.00 an hour will be much better, but even then, it will be difficult to afford decent housing and being able to feed one's family.

Kay M, Brooklyn, NY

Local 153 believes in raising the wage!

Seth G, Cherry Hill, NJ

Because we all need to live and be able to take care of our families so that we won't be a burden on the government, and the minimum wage of $7.25 is at the poverty level. It's just something I believe in. The minimum wage should be $15.00/hour.

Mary L, Columbia, MD

Because it is impossible to be able to finish school and try to start a life on my own in this country with what I make now.

Aletha N, Bronx, NY

The cost of living is higher, and so wages should be higher, too!

Kendra G, Bronx, NY

The cost of living is too expensive, especially the cost of rent.

Raisa V, Bronx, NY

Everyone should be afforded the ability to make a living wage.

Deborah W, Mount Vernon, NY

Everyone deserves to live without having to worry about how they will pay their bills.

Jonathan L, Bronx, NY

New York is expensive.... what I make in a month is not enough for me, my child or our bills.... I know this is how it is for many others.

Jessica P, Bronx, NY

We work so hard and can barely make it through the week. #RAISETHEWAGE

Eric V, Elmhurst, NY

When most people barely scrape by, they don't have money to spend in any of their neighborhood businesses. Everyone loses. My taxes subsidize low wages by supporting the workers and their families. Meanwhile, CEO compensation is rising to Gilded Age levels. To prevent desperation and the associated social ills, we must raise the wage so that most workers feel that the system works for them and they can get ahead by working.

Cindy P, Pittsfield, NH

People deserve to be compensated satisfactorily for their valuable work.

Fred G, Brooklyn, NY

People are entitled to a decent life. I am glad to hear Amalgamated is part of the movement to raise the minimum wage. Bravo.

Eileen C, New York, NY

Raise the minimum wage because the cost of living has increased tremendously and wages should be commensurate with the economic times we live in today.

Beverly S, Bronx, NY

There is no pushback to corporate greed otherwise. Without unions or the government to set reasonable standards, the workers' health and happiness is in the complete hands of people wanting to enrich themselves under the pretense of shareholder obligations.

Kate B, New York, NY

So people can begin to afford the basics of life with a promise of a better life for their children and for their senior years.

Richard R, New York City, NY

The minimum wage should be a living wage!

Gretchen S, New York, NY

This is America. What ever happened to the American dream? Young couples or persons should be able to marry or be single and save money to eventually buy a home. It's impossible to SAVE when you don't even earn enough to LIVE.

Cheryl T, New York, NY

If wages kept pace with productivity since the early '70's, the minimum wage would be $22 an hour today, per the Economic Policy Institute. In 1974, I had a minimum wage job, a car, my own apartment, and could afford classes at a local community college. I went on to earn my bachelors degree, and have a job paying $100k a year. But, young people have too many obstacles today to achieve what I did. It's unfair, and it's un-American. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity.

The rich, and the corporations many of them lead, are literally "making a killing", giving relatively little back to society, while others go hungry, and homeless, and without proper medical care, die, even children.

The taxes needed to support social programs, education and maintenance of our infrastructure are not being paid by the people reaping the rewards of the hard work of the majority. Wages need to be raised to make up for the flatline of the last 40 years that has become compensation for the 99%.

To cite the words of Leona Helmsley, "Only little people pay taxes." If wages are matched to productivity, tax revenues will increase accordingly, because it is the hard working people who pay taxes, not the rich. This country will once again have the monetary resources to remain great.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, consider having a tax on wealth, a ceiling on what chief executives can be paid, which could be done as a ratio to what the lowest paid worker in the corporation makes, and a 95% top marginal tax rate, like we had during the Eisenhower presidency.

But first, do away with Citizens United. Corporations are not people. People commit crimes and hide behind the corporations they lead. They control all political discourse with money. They've taken the greatest democracy on earth and have turned it into an oligarchy, where there is no longer equal justice for all.

Campaign finance reform is needed, so that no one person can donate more in campaign funds than any other person. Then, politicians will once again have to be beholden to the people they're supposed to represent, and not just the rich and the corporate elite.

Brian W, New York, NY

Too many hard working Americans and their families are living in poverty, living from paycheck to paycheck.

Petra S, Brooklyn, NY

To assure the vitality of the American life.

James H, Bronx, NY

The cost of living has risen but the minimum wage hasn't and it is simple economics.

Miguel G, Brooklyn, NY

I believe the federal minimum wage is entirely too low in order for households to make a decent living. Wages stay stagnant while prices in the economy go up. America needs a raise.

Hope V, Brooklyn, NY

The cost of living in a city like NYC is astronomical!! The minimum wage is necessary in order for families to meet their BASIC needs. Food, gas, housing and other costs keep rising, and the minimum wage needs to keep pace with this rise.

Lisa W, Bronx, NY

Because it is a win for everyone. Employers would get more productivity out of workers who are less stressed by not having to work two jobs just to cover their basic needs. Parents would have more time to spend raising their family. And I believe that there would be less conflict in society when people feel like they are being treated fairly.

John B, New York, NY

Our minimum wage law is a national disgrace. It is impossible to live on such a wage. We should all be ashamed that we allow our politicians to be bought by business interests who want to exploit workers. If they want to prove otherwise, just let them pass a fair minimum wage law.

Thomas B, New York, NY

I believe that everyone has the right to safe and secure housing, enough healthy food to eat, and fulfilling employment. In order to secure shelter and food, all people need to be paid a wage that can cover these basic necessities, which is at least $15/hour.

Courtney E, Brooklyn, NY

Too many hard working people are struggling to make ends meet & support their families responsibly. This country is rapidly becoming a place where there is a huge economic disparity & those who are wealthy don't care about those who are struggling.

Deborah W, New York, NY

While a substantial increase, $15/hour is still not enough for a reasonably lower middle class existence, especially if one has a family. The question I would ask is: why wouldn't you support a raise? We count on businesses to be a source of livelihoods: if they are only in it for profit, then maybe it's time we change the business model. It's time we get past this hurdle and start organizing for full employment legislation and all the regulation and taxation of the rich that this would require.

Sam S, Brooklyn, NY

It is obvious, they need to live without struggle and stress; have the ability to care for themselves and their families. Fifteen dollars an hour still falls short, however it is a start. Thank you.

Terry P, Bronx, NY

The current minimum puts workers below the poverty line. It is shameful!

Lew S, Burbank, CA

No one who works full time should live in poverty.

Jason B, Bronx, NY

Because the richest country should not have people living in poverty. If you work you should be able to support your family. Everybody needs to be able to have the necessities of safe housing, food, clothing and education.

Cecelia B, Bronx, NY

A living wage for all workers / employees is the only fair way. We also need universal health care for all! A job that does not permit someone to live at even a basic standard of living is exploitation, and those who benefit from the labor of such a worker derive an unjust benefit.

John B, New York, NY

To foster and build stronger families and decrease crime rates.

Jiselle J, Brooklyn, NY

Because thousands of humans are homeless and live in poverty.

Isabel A, Newark, NJ

I raised two sons as a single parent and I completely understand the constant anxiety to provide a decent life for my sons on a low income. All children need nutritious balanced meals, decent shoes and clothing, health care and a right to a mother or father who can smile and share happy times with them. That makes them able to study and learn and plan for their own future.

Marilyn L, New York, NY

I work with those surviving in poverty or just the working poor every day. The difference just a few dollars would make in an hourly wage would lift the majority of my community out of poverty help to create an more stable and sustainable community.

Anne Marie J, North Wildwood, NJ

It's the right thing to do.

Wilson C, Huntington, NY

Everyone should have the right to not have to worry about basic necessities, like shelter, food, water, clothing... It's about time.

Carmen O, Fresh Meadows, NY

No one should have to live in poverty.

Carole Crowe F, New York, NY

I believe America needs a raise because nobody earning minimum wage working full time should live in poverty and because minimum workers have just as much of a right for their earnings to keep up with inflation.

Brent R, Redwood City, CA

This is the right thing to do!

Patricia V, New York, NY

It's the right thing to do for workers who try hard to be successful.

Michael B, Middletown, OH

America will not grow until her wealth is shared.

Brian D, Trenton, OH

I believe our minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living, and there is almost nowhere in the country where someone can make ends meet working 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job.

Mackenzie B, Washington, DC

America needs to raise the wage as soon as possible because we can't survive on eight dollars an hour. New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Raise the minimum wage!

miguel p, Manhattan, NY

Income inequality and the erosion of the middle class is a big problem for the US. Increasing the minimum wage helps alleviate that problem.

Jeff M, Brooklyn, NY

40 hours per week should be sufficient to pay the rent, eat and pay for daycare. It isn't!

Dixon S, Mountain Home, AR

This is the logical step to keep our economy running.

Erika C, Brooklyn, NY

A living wage and a stake in America for every citizen is an American ideal. The common wealth initiates economic growth.

Ismael Q, Yonkers, NY

It is time for financial justice for the overworked and underpaid.

Jose L, Bronx, NY

To simply live!

Louis M, Jersey City, NJ

Because millions of Americans cannot afford to buy enough food or medications in America at current hourly rates.

Joan G, New York, NY

The current wage is too low to make a living.

Loretta C, Queens, NY

I know two people who make under $15/hour and they are hurting.

Jane S, New York, NY

We need a boost to the economy and working people need a raise!

Michael G, New York, NY

Reduce income inequality, grow the economy, support hard working Americans

Samantha B, Brooklyn, NY

Everyone deserves a living wage that allows them to live comfortably!

Adriana G, New York, NY

Everyone should get a wage raise

Chris B, New York, NY