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Letters: Meet income needs of LI workers

Low wage workers, many in the fast-food industry,

Low wage workers, many in the fast-food industry, join with supporters in front of a McDonald's to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour on April 15, 2015 in Manhattan. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Newsday earns high marks for its recent coverage of the plight of ridiculously underpaid fast-food workers ["Raising a wage issue," Business, May 20, and "Report: LI fast-food wages average $16G," Business, May 21].

Reading Newsday, we learn that fast-food workers on Long Island and elsewhere do not earn enough to support a family. We're also thankful that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has directed the state's acting labor commissioner to establish a wage board to recommend revised wages for fast-food workers, recommendations that can be implemented without approval from the State Legislature.

While I applaud the potential of the wage board, I do so with a caveat. The wage recommendations will be for fast-food workers only. What about other underpaid workers? On April 15, I was privileged to join the Fight for $15 march in Manhattan, which focused on increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour for a variety of underpaid workers, including fast-food workers, hospital aides, school cafeteria workers, crossing guards, adjunct college and university faculty, and more. Sooner rather than later, the income needs of all such workers need to be met.

Ellen B. Bogolub, Setauket

A few comments with respect to your article about the Long Island employment picture improving ["Strong job numbers," Business, May 28].

First, have workers been finding employment that pays what they previously earned, or are they taking lower-paying jobs because something is better than nothing? Could it be that people who had dropped out of the job market returned and found lower-paying jobs?

Also, Long Island and New York State do not exist alone. Our economy is a part of the national economy, which is a part of the world economy. Economic events around the world affect our national and local economies.

On a local basis, there is still a shortage of affordable housing. The cost of housing is a major factor in the average family's standard of living. Many unemployed workers who return to the workforce still face economic pressures.

When I see the Federal Reserve finally raise interest rates, I will be convinced that things are improving. Until that happens, we have a long way to go in recovering from what could have been a depression.

Clifford J. Watins, Commack