ITHACA, N.Y. — At a press conference Friday morning, Alternatives Federal Credit Union announced it’s biannual assessment for the Tompkins County Living Wage, raising it from $14.34 to $15.11 per hour for people whose employer does not provide health insurance. For employees who receive healthcare benefits, the new living wage is $13.90 per hour.

“It is not the comfy wage, it is not the extravagant wage. It’s the living wage,” said Rob Brown, Office Manager/Development Associate at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center.

The biannual report is based on a local study that accounts for factors such as housing, food, transportation, internet and cell phone, healthcare and “modest allowances for recreation and savings.” It also ensures that those not being offered health insurance through an employer are able to enroll in the Silver Plan on the NYS Health Insurance Exchange/Marketplace.

The Tompkins County Workers’ Center advocates for legal adoption of the living wage as the county minimum wage and is willing to take the fight to lawmakers in Albany to approve a local variance in the county. Coordinator Pete Meyers said that waiting on the federal or state governments to make the changes to people’s wages may mean that people are never paid a living wage.

“Some will say it’s too complicated or it’s too difficult. But you know what’s really complicated and difficult is trying to live and raise a family on $9.70 an hour,” he said.

The study in its entirety is being sent to the public this afternoon. Another story detailing the data will be published later. 

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.