Despite Inaction From Albany, Governor Cuomo Pledges to Raise New York’s Fast Food Wages

Governor Cuomo has announced the creation of a Wage Board to decide on a better minimum wage for New York

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

‘Through the Wage Board, New York can set fast-food workers on a path out of poverty, ease the burden on taxpayers and create a new national standard.’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will create a so-called Wage Board to deliberate on a fair and livable fast food wage for fast food employees, despite continued resistance from lawmakers in Albany, the state capital.

“Some argue that we can close the income gap by pulling down the top,” Cuomo wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times. “I believe we should do it by lifting up the bottom. We can begin by raising labor standards, starting with the minimum wage.”

On Thursday, May 7, Governor Cuomo will direct labor commissioner Mario J. Musolino to create a Wage Board panel to examine the current minimum wage ($8.75; $9 by the end of the year) and return in three months with recommendations, bypassing legislative consideration.

Cuomo has previously proposed to raise New York City’s minimum wage to $11.50, and $10.50 in the rest of the state, but was turned down by the State Legislature. Though he did not explicitly state his endorsement for a $15 minimum wage, Cuomo’s support for a fair wage has been well received by those involved in the Fight for $15.

“Governor Cuomo’s historic action in convening a wage board to examine and set wages for fast-food workers in New York State bears testament to the power of workers organizing for decent pay and a voice on the job,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

“That the Fight for $15, which started in New York City less than three years ago, has achieved this milestone is a game-changer that will no doubt reverberate around the nation and across numerous low-wage industries.”

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