THE BLOG
10/17/2014 05:14 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2014

Stop Protecting Walmart, Raise Workers' Wages

You may think of Walmart as the company that just cut healthcare for even more of its workers. Or you may think of it as the country's largest single employer of low-wage workers.

Or you may think of Walmart as the company that brought "just in time" scheduling -- scheduling that makes it impossible for parents to adequately plan for childcare, doctor's appointments, and other non-work parts of their lives -- to the retail industry as a whole.

That's why dozens of organizations and hundreds of workers and their allies were on the street on Thursday telling Alice Walton and the Walton family to stop ripping off the millions of workers who work for Walmart. While Alice Walton lives in a nice $25 million apartment, millions of New Yorkers are struggling to get by.

But we must do more than just call Walmart out for their truly shameful practices. Without unions or government rules, companies like Walmart will never do the right thing.

That's why New York United is not just standing up, demanding that Walmart do the right thing. We're also calling on our elected officials in Albany to raise the minimum wage and let local governments like New York City's raise it even higher if they want to.

This is good for the almost 3 million New Yorkers in a low-wage job. But it's also good for everyone else and the local economy, too.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a report that showed that allowing New York City to raise its minimum wage would benefit hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and generate $6 billion in new wages -- much of which would lead to increased spending, helping to create new jobs and making our economy stronger.

Members of the New York State Assembly including Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill last legislative session that would have done just that. And Governor Cuomo has said that he supports the bill. But unfortunately, the State Senate, led by Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has said he opposes raising the minimum wage.

It's time for New York's elected officials to stop opposing common-sense policies, supported by a majority of voters, that benefit hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers simply to protect the bottom-lines of major corporations like Walmart and McDonald's.