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CSS President and CEO David R. Jones applauds Gov. Cuomo for raising minimum wage to $15 an hour for state workers; urges Legislature to do the same for all workers in the state
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced that he was raising the minimum wage for New York State employees to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 for New York City residents and the end of 2021 for the rest of the state. In July, fast food workers were put on roughly the same timetable to a $15 an hour minimum wage, thanks to the recommendations of the Wage Board commissioned by the governor earlier in the year.
We applaud the governor for making increasing the minimum wage a priority and using the powers available to him to do just that for certain workers. In the new year, the Legislature should do its part, and make the minimum wage $15 an hour for all workers in the state.
Gov. Cuomo has announced his support for a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage, and New York City residents are on board. Our Unheard Third survey found that around 80 percent of New Yorkers – across income levels – favor a $15 an hour statewide minimum wage, with two-thirds strongly in favor. And while Democrats are more supportive than Republicans, over two-thirds of Republicans we polled favor a $15 an hour minimum age, with over half strongly in favor.
Our survey found that nearly 40 percent of hourly workers earning less than $15 an hour experience three or more hardships like falling behind in the rent or skipping meals, compared to 30 percent of hourly workers who earn $15 an hour or more. And workers earning less than $15 an hour are far more likely to rely on public benefits like food stamps than those earning at least $15 an hour.
We are happy to see the governor doing his part to address income inequality and ensure decent pay for a hard day’s work. Places such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are already on their way to a $15 an hour minimum wage, and many more localities are sure to follow. Let’s hope New York’s legislature will be a leader, and not a passive bystander, in the fight for fairness and economic justice.
For more than 170 years, the Community Service Society of New York has been the leading voice on behalf of low-income New Yorkers and continues to advocate for the economic security of the working poor in the nation’s largest city. We respond to urgent, contemporary challenges with applied research, advocacy, litigation, and innovative program models that help the working poor achieve a better quality of life and promote a more prosperous city.