In response to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive order expanding the living wage law across the five boroughs, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State Co-Chairs Rabbi Jennifer Jaech and Barbara Zaron released the following statement:
We commend Mayor de Blasio for helping raise the living wage for many more New York City workers. Not only does the Mayor’s executive order signify an important step towards a living wage for all employees in the five boroughs, it also closes important loopholes in existing laws that had excluded some workers from wage increases. We hope that Mayor de Blasio’s actions inspire other leaders in New York and across the country to take similar, much needed action to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. New York’s actions should also serve as an important example to members of Congress who have been unwilling to advance legislation to raise the national minimum wage.
In Deuteronomy 24:14-15, we are taught “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer… but you must pay him his wages on the same day, for he is needy and urgently depends on it.” The Talmud goes even further, stating, “One who withholds an employee’s wages is as though he has deprived him of his life” (Baba Metzia 112a). These values of fair wages and economic justice are reflected in Mayor de Blasio’s executive order – ensuring that hardworking residents of New York City may provide for their needs and those of their families.Raising the minimum wage to a living wage strengthens not just the workers who depend on it, but also their families and communities.