Will Minimum Wage Increases Help in the Bronx?

Lilibeth Gonzalez working at a shoe store on Bergen Avenue. Read what she had to say at Mott Haven Herald. (Photo by Harini Chakrapani via Mott Haven Herald)

Lilibeth Gonzalez working at a shoe store on Bergen Avenue. Read what she had to say at Mott Haven Herald. (Photo by Harini Chakrapani via Mott Haven Herald)

As of Dec. 31, the minimum wage in New York state increased 25 cents to $9. But will it be much help to workers living in the Bronx? That is the question Harini Chakrapani poses in a Mott Haven Herald story. She notes that with the increase, the median gross rent in Riverdale/Fieldston takes up 85.9 percent of a minimum wage worker’s income. In the South Bronx, that number would be 50.5 percent in Mott Haven/Melrose and 62.5 percent in Hunts Point/Longswood.

Fast-food workers saw their wage go up to $10.50 but how much relief would that provide? The increase came as a result of the nationwide Fight for $15 campaign, which prompted a wage board assembled by Gov. Cuomo to appprove an initial raise of $10.50 starting Dec. 31 for fast-food workers in NYC, with $1.50 increments each year until reaching the full $15 at the end of 2018.

“$15 will solve the problem [if there are] no rent increases,” said Sadia Susan, 33, a cashier at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Grand Concourse, who along with her husband pays $1,100 for her Parkchester apartment and sends money back home to her family in Bangladesh.

Her manager, on the other hand, is not optimistic about the number.

“$15 is too much. Our food prices are also going up. Then, people buy less food,” said Mohammad Rahman, 38, manager of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on the Grand Concourse, adding that only $12-13 hourly wage was feasible.

But what about those working at the minimum wage in other industries where the rate is $9? Go to Mott Haven Herald to read what employees had to say concerning the disparity in wage increases between fast food and other industries.

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