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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Companies have poorly treated minimum wage workers, especially minority minimum wage workers, for decades.However, minimum wage workers started to fight for better pay, more job benefits, and improved working conditions over 70 years ago.This fight continues to the present day. 2015 The Battle for Workers' Rights in New York 1940s Abuses in the Modern Age New York state law allows companies to paytipped employees less than the minimum wage($5 an hour as opposed to $8.75 an hour). Hope for Improvement? A New York state board has proposedthat the tipped wage increase to $8.50an hour in New York City. Backlash This proposal has outraged business owners,who believe that this "would hamper job creation,cut into the pay for non tipped employees, and leadto a reduction in work hours." By: Jacob Gerrish Women make up half the workforce but accountfor ~56.1% of minimum wage workers(food service, retail, and home health care). Whites make up 61% of the State workforcewhile minority workers make up 39%, yet 51%of the wage increases from raising the minimum wage(to $8.50 an hour) would go to minority workers. A higher percentage of full-time minority workersin New York earn under $15,000 a year than non-minorityworkers (3.81% of whites, 6.10% of blacks, 7.78% of Asians,10.81% of Hispanics/Latinos). A person working 40 hours a week (earning $7.25an hour) earns $15,080 a year (~$6,000 below thefederal poverty line for a household of one). A History of the Fight for Rights The labor movement increased by two million members from 1939 to 1941.By 1941, union contracts covered between 20% and 25% of nonagricultural employment.By 1945, the union proportion of nonagricultural employment had grown to 35.8%.Unions had established collective bargaining with most major industries at the time. An Incident In June of 1943, 200 employees of boiler shopsin Dunkirk, New York stopped working in an "unauthorizedwalkout." Both the head of the C.I.O. United Steelworkers ofAmerica and the plant manager did not know the cause,and the former attempted to persuade the workers to return to work. The Reason One striker said the the workers initiatedthe strike in response to a War Labor Board decisionwhich "granted pay increases to employes (sic) in higher wagebrackets, but did not allow raises for common laborers." Discrimination in the Workforce A large number of unions, especially affiliates of the AFL,denied blacks membership at this time. People called blacks"the last to be hired and the first to be fired." They mostly did menial jobs.During the beginning of World War II, minority workers had less senioritythan their fellow workers, and employers more often laid them off. A Light in the Dark The wartime labor shortage helped improve the economicstatus of women and blacks. Women began to work blue-collarjobs, and the "the War Labor Board's policy of equal pay for equalwork" helped prevent women from receiving less pay. The Fair EmploymentPractice Committee (FEPC) helped to create jobs in war industries and thegovernment for blacks. Women in the Workforce Minorities in the Workforce Modern Statistics
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