Our landlord doesn’t give us a break on my rent just because I work in Queens and not Manhattan.
The grocery store where my family shops doesn’t charge one price for customers who work in Manhattan and another for everyone else.
We pay the same price as anyone else for electricity, medicine, clothing and heat.
So how can anyone justify paying me less?
We work as hard as anyone in Manhattan. We face the same struggles paying our bills.
I’ve been a porter at a co-op in Rego Park, Queens, for the last 16 years. I have three children, a daughter and two sons. The boys go to school right across the street from where I work. I love this community. I feel so fortunate to have a job that I love, but my most important priority is taking care of my family.
In the four years since we last negotiated a residential contract, the cost of living in New York City has really shot up. MetroCards are 22% more expensive. A gallon of milk is up by 33%. If I want to take my kids to a movie, it would cost me 20% more. Absolutely everything is way more expensive – for all of us, not just for those who work in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, we know the real estate industry is doing well – again, all over the city, not just in Manhattan. Prices for co-op and condo sales are up everywhere, and the average rent rose above $3,000 a month for the first time ever last year.
As the gap between the rich and poor has grown larger, a strong middle class is what we need to hold this city together. That can’t happen if our wages are under attack.
We need to fight back – for ourselves, our families, our brother and sister workers, and the city where we live.