MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Thousands of human services workers gathered Thursday outside City Hall in Manhattan with a message for Mayor Eric Adams: give us more money or imagine life in New York City without essential services.

And for the first time, those human services were shut down for 24 hours to let the mayor know they are serious.

The Human Services Council, made up of 125,000 non-profit employees across the five boroughs, is asking for a 6.5% cost of living adjustment in this year‘s city budget.

These employees say they are calling for fair pay because their current wages are hovering around the poverty line, and with the rising cost of rent and food, they are struggling to make ends meet.

When asked about the rally, the mayor’s office sent PIX11 News a statement.

“From baselining contract adjustments in the Fiscal Year 2023 Adopted Budget to unlocking more than $4.2 billion in contractual dollars through our ‘Clear the Backlog’ initiative, this administration has made unprecedented investments in our city’s human services providers, who do invaluable work for our communities each and every day. We will evaluate additional funding proposals through the budget process,” the statement said.