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Living Wage

Living Wage

by Dan Lukens

Now that New York state has successfully mandated that the private employers of fast food workers offer them a living wage ($15 per hour), it might be a good opportunity for our state to similarly look at the wages paid to its direct support workers.

Direct support workers are the people who care for our citizens with developmental and other disabilities whose salaries are tied to Medicaid rates paid to providers like Camp Venture. These rates are set by the state and federal government. And, though many of these workers are employed by not-for-profit organizations, they work in the public interest and are supported by public money which, in most cases, does not afford them a $15 an hour wage.

Doing the right thing, I would assert, starts at home and with the people we compensate as a state community. Let’s be glad for fast food workers but also mindful of our responsibility to the people who serve the public purpose caring for our most vulnerable citizens.

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2008 Rockland County Autism Symposium Venture Foundation Address
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