New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for a statewide minimum wage of $15. His announcement marks the first time that any state is attempting to set the minimum wage at this rate—while the city of Seattle passed an ordinance for $15 minimum wage by 2021, the District of Columbia currently leads the way with a statewide minimum wage of $10.50.
The minimum wage increase would be phased in for all employees by 2018 in New York City, and 2021 statewide. It starts now for fast-food workers, however:
Wage order designating $15/hour for fast food workers is signed today by Acting Labor Commissioner Musolino. pic.twitter.com/Dap76RpUYD— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 10, 2015
“If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty—plain and simple,” said Cuomo at a rally at Javits Center. He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden. “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.”
While labor groups support Cuomo’s campaign, the restaurant industry has been hostile. In May, the National Restaurant Association’s president described the wage increase as “an assault on an industry that has delivered nearly 800,000 jobs to the state of New York.”