The fight for an increase in the minimum wage nationwide has heated up in New York, with the governor adding his voice.
Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined what he believes the projected impact would be of a minimum wage increase to the proposed $10.50 and $11.50 statewide and in New York City, respectively. According to the Cuomo administration, more than 1.35 million workers would experience an increase in wages statewide, with the majority of those benefits going to adults and women. The direct economic value across New York because of the wage increase is, according to Cuomo, close to $3.4 billion.
In New York City alone, Cuomo predicted the direct economic value of a wage increase to be $1.9 billion. On Long Island, the direct economic value of a wage increase would be $382.3 million.
“The minimum wage should allow people who work full-time jobs to support themselves and their families, but that is just not possible today,” stated Cuomo. “Our proposal will help hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers better sustain themselves and live with dignity and respect. The state Legislature must pass our proposal this year, because the sweetest success is shared success, and we won’t rest until we are all rising together.”
Cuomo’s push for fair pay this week has its roots in a video presented to the public last week.
Last week, Cuomo premiered a new video featuring workers and representatives from more than a dozen labor organizations across New York supporting an increase in the state’s minimum wage. Cuomo’s video is designed to complement the current “Fight for Fair Pay” campaign pushing for a wage increase to $10.50 an hour statewide and $11:50 in New York City. The video urges state legislators to lend their support to an increase as well.
Some of the labor leaders in the video throwing their support behind fair pay are Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Mario Cilento of the New York State AFL-CIO, Hector Figueroa of 32BJ SEIU, George Gresham of 1199 SEIU and Peter Ward of the New York Hotel Trades Council.
“New Yorkers who work full-time should be able to afford food on the table and a path out of poverty,” said Cuomo in a statement. “As our economy strengthens and more jobs are created in our communities, we must do more to ensure opportunity for all New Yorkers. I thank our labor leaders from across the state for joining the Fight for Fair Pay campaign and urging the state Legislature to increase the minimum wage this session.”
Workers themselves have led the fight for several years now. Sunday, women took their children with them to the streets in Midtown Manhattan to rally in favor of a wage increase, citing the difficulties they have working for the minimum wage while raising children. Many of these women are employed as domestic workers, child care workers, fast-food workers, garment workers and airport workers.