March 29, 2017 under Policy, Advocacy & Research
Statement From the Restore Opportunity Now Campaign on Governor’s Announcement of $55 Million in Funding for Direct Care Workers
While the Governor’s action to fund the minimum wage increase and cost-of-living adjustments of the State’s direct care workers will help ensure these workers are there for those who rely on them – and rightfully so – it falls woefully short in ensuring all human services workers, upon whom the State also depends, will be there when needed. Direct care workers make up one part of a critical network of human services workers that provide essential services across New York State, but there are more than 300,000 human services workers who – like those in direct care – are underpaid and undervalued. These workers provide child care, senior services, homeless services, foster care, and other services, and they work for nonprofits under contract with the State. Just as the Governor acknowledged that passing the $15 minimum wage in 2016 had the “unintended consequence” of impacting the wages of direct care workers, nonprofit human services agencies employing these very similar workers have consistently advised the Governor that the same holds frighteningly true for them. A lack of State funding to pay the full cost of nonprofit human services, which includes the increased minimum wage, has real implications for both the workers and the agencies on whom millions of New Yorkers rely.
Governor Cuomo said yesterday that he is going to “make it right.” He will only make it right when he funds the minimum wage, as well as a statutory cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) that have been deferred for six years, for nonprofit human services workers. If the Governor understands the need to make this critical investment for direct care workers, then surely he understands that the very same implications exist for other nonprofit human services workers.
We congratulate and stand with our partners in direct care for gaining this critical support, but we must point out that there are thousands more workers across our State who the Governor is overlooking.