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Hundreds of thousands of NY nurse assistants, home health aides and other healthcare workers make around $10 an hour and many have to rely on food stamps to feed their children

What: Low-wage healthcare workers to circulate “Ferry Riders for $15” petition

When: Wednesday, March 23, 4-6 PM

Where: Inside the Staten Island Ferry terminal on the Staten Island side

Staten Island, New York City - This Wednesday, March 23, low-wage healthcare workers and community members will gather at rush hour inside the Staten Island Ferry terminal (Staten Island side) to build support for the $15 minimum wage. They will be gathering signatures for their “Ferry Riders for $15” petition and asking people to urge their state legislators to pass the $15 minimum wage by the end of this month. Healthcare workers say the $15 minimum wage is about advancing the American Dream that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can build a better future for your children.

There are over 200,000 homecare workers in the New York City area who care for seniors and people with disabilities in their homes. Despite this vital work, they make around $10 an hour and 56% are forced to rely on public assistance, including 30% who are on food stamps. There are tens of thousands of nurse assistants and other caregivers throughout the state’s hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and pharmacies who also make less than $15 and are struggling to survive and feed their children. In total, over 3 million working New Yorkers would be raised up by the $15 minimum wage, more than 37% of the workforce.

Alimamy Barrie, a Staten Island homecare worker, described the experience of caring for a Korean War veteran and former police officer, who relied on a wheelchair due to injuries from his service: “When you are physically lifting your patient out of bed, dressing them, bathing them and monitoring their vital signs, you know more about their physical and emotional state than their family members and doctors. You need to be filled with kindness to be a homecare worker. It’s very tough work, but it is a gift from God.”

Alimamy and his wife, who is also a homecare worker, face a daily struggle to survive and feed their children. 33% of New Yorkers who make less than $15 are raising children, 95% are 20 years or older and 66% work full-time. Over 200 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners, have said that raising the minimum wage will boost the economy because working people will have more money in their pockets to spend at local businesses.


The mission of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is to advocate for quality healthcare and good jobs for all. With over 250,000 members in New York and over 400,000 total members throughout the East Coast, 1199SEIU is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in the nation.

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