A coalition of advocacy groups this week urged Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers to sign off on a state budget that includes pay raises for service-sector jobs that are dominated by women.
The organizations, which include New York Caring Majority, Just Pay, New Yorkers For Fiscal Fairness and the New York State Council of Churches, released a letter to state officials on Tuesday in recognition of Equal Pay Day.
The service fields being targeted for a raise include the child care and early childhood workforce, as well as home care jobs and the human services workforce. The vast majority of these jobs are held by women, many of them women of color.
But many of these jobs are low-paying ones. Home care workers, for instance, earn a median salary of $21,000 in New York. That's widened the overall income gap between men and women, advocates said.
"Many women-dominated professions have long been grossly undervalued, paying the workforce low wages that do not reflect the importance of the work, or the skills required," the groups wrote in the letter. "Among those professions are the child care, home care and the human services sectors, all of which pay shockingly low wages for work essential to the basic functioning and well-being of our communities. The members of these workforces care for our children, our parents, the disabled, and our loved ones."
Advocates have been calling for a cost-of-living adjustment for many of these fields as part of a final agreement in the state budget, which is expected to pass at the end of March.
"Now is the time for our governor and Legislators to show appreciation for the women working in these sectors by increasing their salaries to reflect the incredible importance of the work they are doing," advocates wrote in the letter. "They need and deserve 'real' annual raises in pay, not bonuses and/or inadequate cost of living adjustments. We have the means to provide these long overdue salary increases, now all we need is the will."