New York Gov. Cuomo Just Called For a Statewide $15 Minimum Wage

September 10th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Fast-food workers in New York state will soon see higher wages. On Thursday, the state's labor commission approved plans to raise the minimum wage for fast-food employees to $15 an hour, the Associated Press is reporting.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) backed the initiative, but he isn't stopping there.

Standing alongside Vice President Joe Biden at a rally held in Manhattan, Cuomo also called for a statewide minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. The announcement arrived the same day that the state's Labor Department accepted the governor's recommendation to raise fast-food workers' wages to $15 per hour, an increase that will affect some 200,000 fast-food workers in the state.

If the governor's push is successful, New York would be the first state to have a $15 per hour minimum wage.

"An economy of the lucky and the left out, the haves and the have-nots, where if you're born poor you will probably die poor—that is not the American way," Cuomo said. "You cannot support a family on $18,000 a year in New York state, not to mention having a decent living."

The $15 per hour wage for fast-food workers in the state will be phased in for workers in New York City in the next three years, and for fast-food workers statewide over the next six years. According to the AP, some restaurant owners are already considering legal challenges to the increases.


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"By raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers in New York, you're not just doing it in New York," Biden said at the rally. "You're going to make every single governor look at themselves. You're leading the way for the country."


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The governor's push would have to be passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature. However, this call for higher wages comes as many other places in the country consider $15 minimum wages, including Washington, D.C., Portland, Maine, and Olympia and Tacoman, Washington. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have passed $15 an hour legislation.


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