Category Archives: News Brew

Analysis: Cuomo’s Trojan Horse attack on Fight for 15

cuomo property of wall street

Governor Andrew Cuomo's much-overhyped wage-board is set to meet on July 22nd to recommend a gradual increase in the minimum wage paid to fast food workers.

cuomo property of wall streetRather than a gift to labor, the scheme may be among the governor's most underhanded, and ruthless, pro-business moves--a scam-politics scheme of the most corrupt order, perhaps someday being ranked alongside his most devious achievements like trampling the WFP and  cutting real estate tax revenue "out of fiscal concern" (only to force the gutting of local school budgets when they wouldn't accept the state's own gutting).

The pro-business governor is doing nothing more than attempting to deflate the Fight for 15 movement--whose aims have always extended beyond just Fast Food Labor into an overall raise in minimum wage, a right to organize, a right to a sane schedule and a right to dignity and safety on the job for all workers.

With low-wage work being the primary source of income for an ever-increasing number of New Yorkers, Cuomo's disturbing, two-faced and manipulative play at bribing away a piece of the movement should illustrate for New York's non-billionaire class just how far the corporate-coddling governor will go to attack independently organized middle and working class movements.

A consistent enemy to low-wage workers across the state, not only has Cuomo sold out low-income New Yorkers at every possible turn (from rent laws to labor), Cuomo even made it impossible for New York City to set its own minimum wage according to local prices.

So what's with Cuomo's sudden pretense that fast food workers are a priority for him?

Cuomo is on the wrong side of some half-dozen scandals these days, and has little, if any, support among the politically active groups and organizers of the working class.

In fact, it's a safe bet that between his Big Developer-friendly performance in the last round of rent law negotiations and his disturbingly close relationship to the worst of the Great Recession Wall Street criminals, Cuomo is among the least liked New York politicians at the activist-community level.

Furthermore, even traditionally centrist working-class groups, like the building trades unions, have shown signs of breaking away from the Cuomo "insiders."

In fact,  the "insiders versus outsiders" game is a bit of a Cuomo specialty, one that often serves as an element in his divide-and-conquer strategy for breaking worker and community strength.

Cuomo's Rove-sque level of maneuvering is little surprise to those who watch Albany. An operative of the most sophisticated order, when Andrew Cuomo plots on his political enemies (like, these days, independently-organized labor and tenant groups), there's always something more sinister and corporate at play than an ostensibly occupied mind with a half-plan.

For clarity, let's explicitly understand what the wage board will say absolutely nothing about

  • raising the overall minimum wage for the millions of other low-wage workers
  • collective bargaining and union rights for all low-wage workers
  • allowing new york city and/or other municipalities to set their own higher-than-state-level minimum wage
  • job-protection and job-safety measures for low-wage workers
  • scheduling guarantees and scheduling regulations for low-wage "flex-economy" workers

Seen through Cuomo's history of divide-defuse-and-conquer towards community power, it's only too blatant that wall street's favorite governor is once more scheming to buy one side of the working class into a complacent tolerance when the rest of working class is eviscerated (Giuliani had a similar relationship with certain building trades and law enforcement unions, as did Pataki).

EDITOR's NOTE: Low-wage worker movements have been self-organizing for years. Check out some of our earliest coverage from years ago:

November 2011: New York's Fast Food Labor Rumble Takes Center Stage, a short compilation from our staff

February 2012: NY Fast Food Workers Serve Up a Fight for Economic Justice, Sarah L. Jaffe

February 2012: Low Wage Workers Resuscitate NY's Organized Labor, Ava M. Capote

May 2013: Time for a Raise?: Inside the Fight for 15, Sarah L. Jaffe


421-a Program’s Unaffordable “Affordability”


Over $1.1 billion is lost each year in the 421a mania of tax-freebies to developers (and their financiers).


When Taxpayers Have to Guarantee Tycoons' Profits

New York City's notorious housing costs are no accident or historical anachronism. They are the specific product of historical factors and corporate-pushed mechanisms whereby taxpayer funds and "the state" are wrangled to ensure profits for a consistently underperforming (and necessarily under-serving) for-profit sector.

Some economists call this model of taxpayers-guaranteeing-private-profit "neo-liberalism" (with neo-conservatism as a related, occasionally synonymous and ever-reproducing correspondent). New York renters just call that sort of corrupt profit-getting the stuff of every day reality.

That reality is composed of folks like Marvin Markus, who served on the Rent Guidelines Board for 13 years and even served as its chairman, ... and now serves as a managing director at financial giant Goldman Sachs.

Or, it means Wall Street's favorite Governor, Andrew Cuomo picking a manager from financial mega-giant Blackrock (comprised of the worst players of the Financial Crisis, the firm serves to repurchase devalued properties through a proxy, and has becomine the nation's biggest landlord) as his Secretary, the top aide to the governor. It's hard for tenant's to see getting a fair shake from a governor who picks his lead advisor from the nation's biggest housing profiteers.

On the larger level, it means a series of corrupt mechanisms: like big-pocketed venture capitalists spending over $1 million, sometimes through the LLC loophole, convincing upstate politicians (who determine New York City's housing laws, but do not live in New York City) to keep New York City laws exactly as maximally-favorable to quick-bucks and taxpayer-guaranteed profits.

Alongside vacancy decontrol and the majestically corrupt "LLC" loophole, 421-a tax-giveaways are part of the inter-corrupting, and self-reproducing, networks of mechanisms through which near-criminal housing profits are leeched out of the New York City population by Wall Street and syndicated wealth.

In the aftermath of the Silver and Skellos indictments, and with the current rent laws due to expire on June 14, New Yorkers (from tenants to small business owners) are demanding an end to the giveaway. Over $1.1 billion is lost each year in the 421a mania of tax-freebies to developers and their financiers.

The 421a tax-giveawy is a remnant of Lindsay era programs to bolster housing construction in New York City.

The sanity and morality of such a program during New York City's current housing boom, is at best questionable, at worst, criminal.

These days, 421-a giveaways are seen as an odious and obvious burden-shifting of tax-costs from big-developers (and their financiers) to working class New Yorkers (whether tenants, small businesses or small scale landlords).

Much like Big Finance flushed capital into the suburbs for taxpayer-guaranteed profits during yesteryear's suburbinization bubble (that left many urban regions severely underserved), Big Finance is now inverting the flow --- flushing its money into urban centers for taxpayer-guaranteed profits during an urbanization bubble (leaving many suburban regions severely underserved).

But what do New Yorkers get in exchange for sponsoring the free rides and easy profits of the city's wealthiest corporations, trust funds and families through 421-a tax breaks?

Are 421-a deals worth it for non-millionaire New Yorkers?

What do the rest of us get in exchange for $1.1 billion a year subtraction away from the public coffers?

To hear the mythology, the 421-a "tax-breaks" (burden-shifting) were created to encourage developers to build New York City's housing (given certain, rather corporate-convenient, conditions).

In exchange for $1.1 billion dollars a year in tax breaks, developers "promise" to build a certain amount of affordable units.

Does it pay for New Yorkers to be sponsoring the easy profits of big developers and their wall street cronies?

The results, year in and year out, have been horrible for working-class New Yorkers.

One could easily look at the overall housing-cost to income ratio on face value and understand the immiserating realities these obscene housing profits externalize into the lives of ordinary new yorkers (e.g. Brooklyn rents have reached a record high,.. in a time when long-term incomes for most of the borough's middle and working classes has plummeted).

One could also look directly at the program's promises as compared to the realities of what it delivers.

All in all, New Yorkers spend $1 million in tax breaks to developers for each and every "affordable" unit created through the 421-a program, according to a recent report by the Community Service Society. At that price tag, why shouldn't the city just develop and grow its own housing projects (a non-rhetorical question who's immediate empirical answers lie in history and profit, not in any logic or human decency)?

Are these apartments even affordable for most regular New Yorkers?

"Affordable" according to the corporate-rigged standards now means affordable for a family of four earning over $100,000 a year. This means paying up to $2800 a month for rent for an "affordable" apartment, in a time when two-thirds of New York City's job growth has occurred specifically in low-wage industries.

In Ridgewood, Queens (currently being targeted by Big Finance-backed developers through a board-or-hoard-then-up-price strategy), household median incomes have dropped from approximately $56,000 a year to $53,000 a year in just a few years. Meanwhile, rents have skyrocketed in the community, enraging, impoverishing and eventually displacing local tenants, owners and businesses. Residents are fighting mad, and they're getting organized (in Ridgewood and throughout the city).

One look at the local economics explains everything about the cruelty and stupidity of the "affordability" scale Wall Street (along with its allies in city and state government) would push on working class New Yorkers.

A family of four living on the median Ridgewood income would have to spend over 62% of that pre-tax income on an "affordable" apartment.

Is that really affordable? What's left to live on?

Can New Yorkers really afford to spend another billion dollars a year guaranteeing easy, tax-light profits for Wall Street?

Doesn't Wall Street already have enough of our money?

Who, precisely, is being helped and hurt by assigning such absurdly high prices as "affordable?"



Why is rent in NYC so expensive? (BQ Brew) What is rent Control? (BQ Brew)

Why Billionaires Don't Pay Property Taxes in New York | City Lab

de Blasio's 421-a proposal would extend tax breaks in exchange for a little bump in affordable housing (Progress Queens)

Albany Should Scrap Giveaway to Developers | Community Service Society of New York

NYC buildings show Albany corruption, real estate connection -- NY Daily News

REBNY members gave a tenth of all N.Y. campaign money -- Capital NY

The Rent is Too Damn Nigh! When, Where and How to Testify to the City’s Rent Board

 (feature photo via 401k2012/flickr/cc)

What’s Brewing? This Week’s Must Read Link Roundup

what's brewing

Via City Limits, New York City Housing tenants continue to lack a voice to speak up for their needs. One of the many issues is lack of support for existing Tenant Associations.


Mayor De Blasio is making a $70M commitment toward universal broadband in New York City. According to TechCrunch, part of that money will be used to provide free or low-cost internet access to 20,000 low-income households.


The Mayor also announced a $100 Million effort to alleviate New York City's homelessness crisis. You can read more about it at WNYC.


At The New York Times, "The Price of Nice Nails" is an in-depth look into the terrible labor abuses some nail salons inflict on their workers. has a list of the 5 worst revelations.


Henry Stewart at HeyRidge takes a look at the gerrymandering behind Bay Ridge Brooklyn being lumped together with Staten Island in a congressional district.


Louis Flores at Progress Queens explains how New York's corporate governor will continue to accept money from Glenwood Management, which has long-exploited the LLC Loophole to extend its powerful voice with state lawmakers.


On Thursday, May 14 at 5pm affordable housing advocates and tenants will be rallying to save NYC. The purpose is to raise awareness and support for stronger rent laws in June, and to save #1MillionHomes. You can learn more at the event page on Facebook.


On Saturday, May 16, residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg will once again be rallying to ask, "Where's our park?"


BONUS LINK: Democracy Now! talks with executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy Lisa Graves about their new report on how taxpayer money is wasted by charter schools. You can watch or read that interview at and you can read the Center for Media and Democracy's report in pdf format here.

NYC Mayor Aims for 90% Reduction in Trash by 2030

de blasion anounced his OneNYC plan to increase NYC's resiliency and reduce inequality.

Earlier today Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the Zero Waste Plan, which aims to cut New York City's trash by 90% within 15 years.

The ambitious goal was announced on Earth Day, as part of de Blasio's OneNYC.

"Environmental and economic sustainability must go hand in hand – and OneNYC is the blueprint to ensure they do,” said Mayor de Blasio in an official statement.

While the plan looks to contiue some of the Bloomberg's administration's environmental goals (encapsulated by PlaNYC), it comes with a stronger focus on tackling inequality, including a goal of lifting 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty by 2025.

Part of the goal also includes zero trash to landfills by 2030 and an 80% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Featured Photo via Jason Lawrence/CC?Flickr.

Racist Posts on NY Cop Blog Raise Ire at Time of Tension

Photo via See-ming Lee/cc/Flickr

Week after week, racist posts appear on Thee Rant, a blog for current or former New York City police officers: African Americans are called “apes;” a retired officer says one of the blessings of retirement is not having to work the Puerto Rican Day parade, with its “old obese tatted up women stuffed into outfits that they purchased or shoplifted at the local Kmart store; a Middle Eastern cab driver berated by an officer is termed a “third worlder” who should have his “head split open.”

And week after week, the department’s top officials are, at once, embarrassed and powerless.

“It’s very disturbing stuff. Outrageous stuff,” said Stephen Davis, the chief spokesman for the NYPD. “We see it. It’s a problem.”

At the heart of the problem are the limits the department faces in what it can do.

“Monitoring these things is challenging,” Davis said. “There are privacy issues involved. We can’t go and peel back email names and tags and try to find out who these people are.”

The issue of the blog, started by former NYPD officer Ed Polstein in 1999, has gained notoriety most recently after a white South Carolina police officer shot a black man to death. Shortly after a video of the officer appearing to shoot the fleeing man in the back went viral on the Internet, Thee Rant blew up with comments.

“Cop looked good in his stance,” read one post.

Polstein, who did not respond to requests for an interview, has said previously that anyone wishing to post on the blog has to provide proof that they are a current or former member of the NYPD. But whether they are, and how many have signed up, are among the many mysteries surrounding Thee Rant. The blog says it garners 120,000 page views daily.

Leonard Levitt, a respected former Newsday reporter who runs the website NYPD Confidential, said he has stopped assigning much significance to Thee Rant.

“To be honest, I don’t read it,” Levitt said. “I’d say these guys represent the worst elements of the department. I don’t think they speak for the average cop. I have a feeling it’s four or five guys doing most of the yowling.”

Incidents of officers being investigated or punished for their behavior online, in social media or on personal cell phones, have cropped up in Illinois, Missouri and Florida in recent weeks and months.

In a St. Louis suburb, for instance, an officer was fired after posting racist remarks about the protests in Ferguson. In San Francisco, eight officers were fired for exchanging racist and homophobic text messages.

Relations between the police and minorities have been fraught in New York for decades. The assault on Abner Louima and the killing of Amadou Diallo during Rudy Giuliani’s administration sparked a rise in tension. The aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics during Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty deepened the mistrust and anger. And the choking death of Eric Garner on Staten Island last year provoked protests and slogans.

William Bratton, Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s police commissioner, has acknowledged the poor relations and vowed to improve them.

The existence of Thee Rant, and the occasional, perhaps outsize attention it gets, has not made Bratton’s efforts easier.

Garner’s death prompted some of the more extensive back and forth on the blog. Garner was killed when an officer sought to subdue him during a stop for illegally selling loose cigarettes. Bratton initially said it appeared the officer had used an improper chokehold. But a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict the officer.

On Thee Rant, support for the officer was substantial. And occasionally ugly.

“A more accurate headline would be "Non Compliant Fat Bastard Gets Just Due In Resisting Law Enforcement Officers,” read a post in reaction to headlines in the city’s papers.

“Yes, they’ll pay off the 'family,'” started another. “It’s a lot cheaper than a riot…And therein lies the problem...The cities of America are held hostage by the strong-arm tactics of the savages.”

Davis, the NYPD spokesman, said department policy is that officers should not be on social media, as well as blogs, except for official business. The department has shown it is willing to act against problem officers when it can. In 2012, New York City police officers were disciplined over racist and violent comments made on Facebook, many of which targeted the annual Labor Day West Indian Parade, describing the event as a “scheduled riot” and comparing it to working at a zoo.

“We don’t know how many active police officers are on it,” Davis said of Thee Rant. “If we did identify active officers speaking on the site in that capacity they would be disciplined for violating policy.”

“Unfortunately,” he added, “it’s one of these things that we don’t have ownership of. We don’t have any control over it. Some say that’s good, others maybe say it’s bad.”

Davis said he did not know of any active effort to determine whether current officers are commenting on the site or who they are. He said the department would investigate any specific allegation that a particular officer was behind objectionable comments.

“It’s, in a sense, unfortunate that a lot of it is done under the banner of freedom of expression now,” Davis said.

Polstein, who joined the department in 1988, told the New York Daily News in 2005 that he’d started the blog as his personal diary. “It was how I felt at the moment,” he told the News. “It is my constitutional right to vent.”

Over the years, the local media has occasionally reported on Thee Rant. In one recent instance, the blog decided to go after a reporter who had done a story about the South Carolina shooting comments. One contributor to the blog found a video of the reporter at a conference, posted it, and then encouraged others to mock the reporter’s looks.

The coverage prompted objections from at least one current or former officer, who suggested Polstein should take a more active role in moderating the blog.

“There hasn’t been a moderator on here in days," the officer wrote. “If Ed had any loyalty to active duty cops, he’d remove the law enforcement angle of the board and let er rip. As it is, anytime a lazy reporter wants to smear the NYPD, all he has to do is come here and read the ravings of some diaper wearing geriatric that fell hard off the Aricept train and say that it was an active NYPD cop saying it.”

The NYPD’s Davis said he hoped the police union might step in to rein in the blog.

“A lot of retired people are still active in the union and it doesn’t do anybody any good to have these remarks out there,” he said. “They really don’t help. But that’s the nature of the social media beast right now.”

Al O’Leary, spokesman for the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, declined to comment for this story.

This article is published through a CC license, via ProPublica. Photo via See-ming Lee/cc/Flickr.

For Upstate NY: Wine or Fracking?

Photo via _katattack/cc/flickr

Wine over Brine


My home near Seneca Lake in New York is famous for a lot of things — good wine, fine food, and the Finger Lakes region’s beautiful scenery.

Now, though, Crestwood Midstream — a Houston-based company that drills, stores, and distributes fracked natural gas — wants to put my community on the map as a hub for dirty energy.

Although New Yorkers had the good sense to ban the practice of “fracking” last year, the industry still has big plans to expand its infrastructure in my state. Developers have proposed hundreds of miles of new pipeline, along with ports for export.

At Seneca Lake, Crestwood Midstream wants to build one of the nation’s largest storage facilities for compressed gas.

For this purpose, it selected a structurally unsound old salt mine beneath Seneca Lake — right in the heart of our tourism, wine, and food industry.

Our economy is built on tourism. Wine Enthusiast magazine recently selected the Finger Lakes as one of the world’s top 10 “wine travel” destinations, ranking it alongside destinations in Italy, New Zealand, France, and Spain. Nearby Watkins Glen was recently voted the third most popular state park in the country by USA Today readers.

New York State’s $4.8-billion wine industry is more than a source of pride for the Finger Lakes. It employs over 1,000 people and is growing year by year.

Farming and food production are mainstays as well, with the majority of land in our region devoted to farming. New York ranks third in the nation for organic farms, many of which are located right here in the Finger Lakes. Tourists come to visit our farms and enjoy a growing number of farm-to-table restaurants.

Finger Lakes Wine Country

Gas storage, though, threatens all of this.

That’s one reason 324 local businesses have formed a coalition to oppose the gas storage facility. There’s great concern about what increased truck traffic, noise, and pollution could mean for their livelihoods. There’s also the risk of a catastrophic accident.

Salt mines, after all, make for a dangerous storage option. Since 1972, there have been 10 incidents of catastrophic failure at underground gas storage facilities, all of which were salt caverns — even though salt caverns make up only 7 percent of storage sites.

The risk is increased at Seneca Lake, where Crestwood plans to use a structurally unsound cavern that runs beside an earthquake fault.

During the 1960s, the roof of this cavern collapsed without warning. A similar accident with the cavern full of gas would be catastrophic. Nearby residents fear the risk of explosion or the contamination of the lake, which is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.

The risks associated with handling the highly combustible gases Crestwood wants to stockpile are high at every step.

There’s a risk of a truck or train explosion, a wellhead failure, or migration of the gas and its brine into our lake. Tourists will have to dodge trucks carrying explosive materials on our rural roads.

Even under the best circumstances, the site will produce high levels of air pollution from compressors and open pits, light pollution from a 60-foot flare, and loud and continuous noise.

No wonder it’s not just local businesses that are concerned.

At least 22 local governments representing 740,000 residents have passed resolutions opposing the gas storage plan, and more than 200 citizens have been arrested while protesting at the proposed site. This summer, perhaps tourists will join in the civil disobedience at our lake.

We’ve banned fracking here in New York. It’s time for legislators to take the next step and tell the oil and gas industry that the Finger Lakes aren’t an appropriate warehouse for these dangerous materials.

Our future is in wine and renewable energy, not explosive trucks and brine.


Melissa Tuckey is an award winning poet and author of the book Tenuous Chapel. She’s a co-founder of the national poetry organization Split This Rock. You can read more of her writings at
Distributed by Photo via _katattack/cc/flickr

Fight for $15: On Worldwide Day of Action, Workers Demand Livable Wages

Photo via Fight for 15

Fight for $15—the movement calling for livable wages and union rights for low-income workers—launched a worldwide day of action on Wednesday morning with walkouts and rallies across the globe, spanning more than 200 cities in the U.S. and 35 countries.

By early Wednesday morning, protests were already taking place in numerous locations, including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Boston, among others. Workers blocked intersections in front of McDonald's restaurants and planned speeches, presentations, and marches throughout the day for what organizers say will be one of the biggest Fight for $15 days of action yet.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, though it varies from state to state. Organizers chose April 15 not just because it is similar to their call—"For 15"—but because they wanted to use Tax Day to highlight how workers are paid so little that they are forced to rely on public assistance to survive.

"On Tax Day, fast-food workers from Pittsburgh to Pasadena will walk off the job, while adjunct professors, home care, childcare, airport, industrial laundry and Walmart workers will march and rally in what will be the most widespread mobilization ever by US workers seeking higher pay," organizers said in a statement.

Workers, who demonstrated under the banners of a broad coalition of organizations, including OUR Walmart, Jobs With Justice, D.C. Working Families, and several local unions, among other groups, emphasized the importance of raising wages as the cost of living in the U.S. soars.

In the nation's capital, workers marched with signs that read, "We Care for D.C." and chanted, "What's outrageous? Poverty wages!"

"In D.C., housing is getting more expensive, jobs are paying less and families are struggling to get by," said D.C. Working Families director Delvone Michael. "D.C. is facing its widest wage gap in 35 years and workers need $15 an hour, if they want to be able to support their families in one of the country's most costly cities without relying on public assistance."

Further north, protesters in New York blocked the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and picketed a McDonald's in Flatbush.

"Everyone just wants to survive and work happily. Fifteen dollars and union is what any fast-food worker needs," one McDonald's worker from Boston, Darius Cephas, told the Guardian. "I am not saying that everything will be better, but it will be livable. It will be manageable."

Underscoring the solidarity among two growing movements across the U.S., many actions were also joined by Black Lives Matter activists calling for justice over recent police killings of unarmed black men and women.

Report: US Taxpayers Bear ‘Hidden Cost’ of Poverty Wages

Photo via George Kelly/cc/flickr.

Stagnant wages and declining employer-provided benefits mean that low-wage workers in the United States are increasingly reliant on federal and state-run public assistance programs.

In fact, U.S. taxpayers pay roughly $153 billion each year to supplement employers who refuse to pay a livable wage, according to report published Monday by the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor.

U.S. taxpayers "bear a significant portion of the hidden costs of low-wage work in America," said report authors Ken Jacobs, Ian Perry, and Jenifer MacGillvary.

According to the report, The High Public Cost of Low Wages (pdf), 73 percent of those enrolled in the country's major public support programs are members of working families. The Berkeley study examined state spending for Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), and federal spending for those programs as well as food stamps (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Despite a rebounding economy, U.S. workers are not being compensated. According to the research, when adjusted for inflation, wage growth from 2003 to 2013 was either flat or negative for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution. Further, the number of non-elderly Americans who receive insurance benefits from an employer has fallen from 67 percent in 2003 to 58.4 percent in 2013.

"When companies pay too little for workers to provide for their families, workers rely on public assistance programs to meet their basic needs," said report co-author Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center. "This creates significant cost to the states."

According to the Berkeley study, the reliance on public assistance spans a diverse range of occupations, including fast-food workers (52%), childcare workers (46%), home care workers (48%), and even part-time college faculty (25%).

In total, more than half of all state and federal spending on public assistance program now goes to working families, the study finds.

The report comes amid a growing push to increase the federal minimum wage. On Wednesday, workers in hundreds of cities across the country are holding an international day of action to call for a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.

And the Berkeley researchers contend, raising wages "would lift working families out of poverty and allow all levels of government to better target how our tax dollars are used."

This article was originally published by Common Dreams, and is republished here through a CC license. Photo via George Kelly/cc/flickr.

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