Governor announces push to raise minimum wage to $15

Posted 10 September 2015 at 12:00 am

NY would be first state in US with $15 minimum

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joseph Biden, today rallied for fair pay for New York’s workers and announced a push to make New York the first state in the nation to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage.

This announcement comes on the same day that Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino signed an order designating a $15 per hour statewide minimum wage for fast food workers – the level recommended by a State Department of Labor wage board earlier this summer.

The governor’s proposed all-industry minimum wage increase should be phased in to mirror the fast food wage order, taking full effect by December 31, 2018 in New York City and July 1, 2021 for the rest of New York State.

“If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty – plain and simple,” Cuomo said. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will add fairness to our economy and bring dignity and respect to 2.2 million people, many of whom have been forced to live in poverty for too long.”

The Governor and Vice President were joined by more than 1,200 workers, community members and advocates at the Javits Center in New York City to celebrate the success of the fast food wage board and continue that momentum.

In the coming months, the Governor’s administration, with elected officials, business leaders and community members, will bring the push for a $15 minimum wage across the state to build support for a bill to be introduced in the next legislation session.

Governor Cuomo has consistently fought to increase the minimum wage in New York State. In 2013, the Governor signed legislation that raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to its current level of $8.75. That legislation included another incremental increase to $9.00 that will take effect by the end of 2015. Additionally, the State Department of Labor empaneled a wage board last July, which led to an increase in wages for tipped workers from $4.90, $5.00 and $5.65 to $7.50 per hour on December 31, 2015.

Fast Food Minimum Wage Order Signed

On May 7, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo instructed Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino to empanel a Wage Board to investigate and make recommendations on an increase in the minimum wage in the fast food industry. The Fast Food Wage Board members were: Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, representing the public; Kevin Ryan, Chairman and Founder of Gilt, representing businesses; and Mike Fishman, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, representing labor.

The Fast Food Wage Board filed its report on July 31 that in part recommends the State raises the minimum wage to $15 for employees of fast food chains. Today the Commissioner signed the wage order, which per statute must be issued within 45 days once the report is filed. The order is now subject to the regulatory process.

“To grow the middle class, we need to set a livable wage that lets families pay their bills and save for their future,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “This is a smart investment in our workforce and our economy, and I’m proud New York is leading the nation to pull workers from a low-wage cycle of poverty.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said: “No one who works full time should have to live in poverty. Let New York – the proud Empire State – lead the way for the rest of the country and finally pass a real minimum wage that will lift people out of poverty and help them realize the American dream.”