Press Release

Higher Minimum Wage is Progress Toward Ensuring All Workers Earn Enough to Escape Poverty

Statement by David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society

Many of New York’s lowest paid workers will be ringing in the New Year with a raise.  The minimum wage for workers across the state will increase from $8.75 to $9.00 an hour, the final scheduled increase as part of the 2013 deal reached by lawmakers. 

The minimum wage for tipped workers - who were left out of the 2013 deal – will increase from $5.00 to $7.50 an hour as a result of actions taken by Gov. Cuomo.  And fast food workers – based on recommendations made by the Wage Board appointed by the governor – will begin their steady climb to $15 an hour, starting with an increase to $10.50 an hour in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state.   

We are happy to see these increases going into effect, and support the governor’s recognition that even more needs to be done to make sure hard working New Yorkers are not living in poverty.  At CSS, we produced a report showing that tipped workers in New York are far more likely to live in poverty than other workers, and we testified at the Wage Board hearings for both tipped workers and fast food workers. 

Gov. Cuomo has recently announced his support for a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage that would put New York State at the head of the movement in the United States to ensure adequate wages for workers.  He will need the legislature to make that vision a reality.  And we should be doing even more.  In December, the New York Times ran an editorial supporting paid family leave, another issue currently being debated in Albany that could have a real impact on the lives of low-income New Yorkers.

In 2016, CSS will continue to fight for adequate wages, common sense paid leave policies, and other measures that can help hard-working, low-income New Yorkers get ahead.  We urge the legislature to do its part in making sure we build on the success of 2015 and make 2016 a great year for working New Yorkers. 

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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.

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