LOW-WAGE WORKERS RISING
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. 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.
ALIGN is spearheading bold campaigns to fix New York City’s public transportation system in ways that confront climate change and systemic inequality head-on. New York’s transportation infrastructure is broken. Women, immigrants, black and low-income New Yorkers bear the brunt of this, as they are the most dependent on public transportation. Subway delays have tripled over the last five years, which means lost income for hourly-wage workers, harm to health from stress, and a dent in the New York economy as a whole. ALIGN is bringing members of its long-standing alliance – community organizations, labor unions, worker centers, and environmental groups – together behind powerful campaigns to revolutionize our public transportation system.
We are standing with others and organizing at the grassroots to advocate for ground-breaking policies such as the Fix NYC congestion pricing plan, which will generate $1.5 billion a year in revenue, while reducing congestion and climate pollution. ALIGN is also exploring additional progressive policies to generate funds for transit and re-invest them in the communities where the need is greatest. When new revenues come through, low-income New Yorkers must get a break: we’ve endorsed the Fair Fares campaign which would give adults at or below the federal poverty line discount price MetroCards.
REAL AFFORDABILITY FOR ALL
New York City is at a breaking point. Nearly half of all residents are living near the poverty line. While real wages have been depressed for the majority of New Yorkers, housing costs are soaring. Over the past ten years, rents have increased at twice the rate of household incomes citywide. At the same time, the number of rent-regulated apartments has been steadily declining, and most new housing construction has been geared toward the rich, which has caused neighborhood displacement and record levels of homelessness.
ALIGN joined the Real Affordability for All Coalition along with tenant associations, community organizations, faith groups, immigrant advocates, and others to urge the city to preserve and create real affordable housing, and to ensure that new affordable housing development creates good local jobs.
Both de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) are intended to boost the supply of affordable housing across the city.
As this process unfolds, we need additional tools to reach affordable and stable housing for communities. Apartments for residents making below 30% of the area median income (AMI) should be prioritized alongside career-track jobs for low-income NYC residents
THE ALLIANCE FOR A JUST REBUILDING
The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding transformed the $850 million Build It Back initiative to repair and rebuild 10,000 homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy into a program that links rebuilding and resiliency efforts with job training and career opportunities for the most disadvantaged people in NYC.
NEW YORK CARING ACROSS GENERATIONS
The New York Caring Across Generations campaign led by ALIGN won an additional $1.5 million in the city budget to provide home care services to low-income and undocumented seniors and to support living wage home care jobs. This followed a participatory action research project and report that identified key problems in the home care industry and steps to improve it.