Minimum wage workers in NYC are getting a raise — just not a big one

BROOKLYN (PIX11) - Minimum wage workers in New York will soon notice a little extra in their paychecks.  That’s because the state raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 an hour for 2014.  

Fast food workers went on strike several times in 2013 and at each of the rallies those minimum wage workers were asking for $15 an hour.  So even though an $8 an hour minimum wage is more than the $7.25 mandated by the federal government, many say it’s still not enough to survive in New York.

Wafa Al-Shiri is just one of New York’s minimum wage workers who has struggled to get by.

Even though she’s thankful for the increase, Al-Shiri says it’s still not a “living wage”.

“Is 8-dollars an hour enough for minimum wage in New York? No it’s not,” Al-Shiri said.  “Everything is going up now.”

Ana Duran is a mom who already made $8 an hour before the increase.

She says, at the end of the month, the extra 75 cents an hour won’t be enough to keep people from living paycheck to paycheck.

“It’s not good enough for me, especially because I’m a mom,” Duran said.

Some people like Laura Taylor, who makes more than minimum wage, agree.

“Nobody can’t live off eight dollars, especially young kids,” Taylor said. “ If they want to go out there on their own, how are they going to survive?  You know how much rent is?  Just for a studio is over a thousand dollars.”

Others, like Laurel Rush, think it is positive, however. “Is eight dollars an hour enough?” asked Rush. “It’s really not, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

This increase is the first of 3 minimum wage raises over the next two years in New York State.

By the end of the year New York’s lowest paid workers will make $8.75-per hour.

That number rises to $9 by the end of 2015.

“The fastest growing industry in the city is retail and fast food workers and it’s basically a race to the bottom,” said

Public Advocate Latisha James.  “And that’s why there’s a drain on the economy in the city of New York.”

While opponents of the minimum wage increase say it could force businesses to layoff some of their employees, most of the people we spoke to were skeptical when it came to corporate giants like McDonald’s and Target.  But they did have a little more sympathy for the mom and pop shops. 

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