ALIGN and members of our long-standing alliance are fighting for the rights of workers in the low-wage economy, where rapid automation is further eroding workers’ economic security.
New York is a city of extremes, including extreme inequality. Over half (52%) of Hispanics, 41% of blacks and 32% of whites in New York City earn less than $15 an hour, many of them in New York City’s ’s fastest-growing industries such retail, healthcare, and food service. Meanwhile, it’s precisely the low-wage sector that stands the most to lose as automation extends ever-greater influence over the world of work.
Despite extreme inequality, New York has always been a city that fights back — a city of labor, where workers organize to win victories at scale. Community organizations and labor unions have come together for major wins. For example, ALIGN played an important role in the Fightfor15, which won a guaranteed $15 wage for restaurant workers. In 2018, fair scheduling came into effect, requiring employers to let employees know their schedules two weeks in advance. Victories like these are the result of sustained, strategic organizing.
What We’re Doing
ALIGN and members of our long-standing alliance are driving campaigns and activating members to fight for workers in the low-wage economy. Our goals are to:
- Expand workplace democracy and fight back against attacks on collective bargaining rights, which are being dangerously eroded across the country. As the New York affiliate of Jobs with Justice, ALIGN was built on the principle of solidarity – of being there for someone else’s struggle as well as your own.
- Mobilize and develop the leadership of low-wage workers, particularly women, black, Latino and immigrant workers, to advocate for their rights at city and state level.
- Fight for policy victories that strengthen workers’ rights. For example we are working with others to safeguard compensation for injured workers, and to end forced arbitration (which compels employees to submit to binding arbitration instead of having the option to take their employers to court).
- Build a coalition to campaign for equitable investment of taxpayer dollars, strong local hiring and training programs, and transparency and accountability for corporate subsidies. Too often, economic development funds from public and private sources fail to reach the communities who need them most – black, brown and immigrant workers and families in long-neglected areas of the city. We are working to make sure that New York City’s job creation programs – which emphasize the technology sector – genuinely provide good, long-term employment opportunities for people in communities that have been left behind.
- Oppose major subsidies to corporate behemoths like Amazon and invest that money in our neighborhoods instead. As Amazon ran its high-profile nationwide search for “H2Q” ALIGN brought together over 30 organizations throughout the city and state to send a strong message to our public officials – stop rolling out the red carpet for Amazon.