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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Andrew Cuomo
NEW YORK CITY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his administration is raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour. To date, no other state has enacted a $15 public-sector minimum wage.

Cuomo is pushing to make New York the first state in the nation to implement a $15 minimum wage across all industries, and follows the $15 minimum wage increase for fast food workers approved by the Governor’s administration earlier this year.

“I believe that if you work hard and work full time, you should not be condemned to live in poverty. Yet millions of families nationwide continue to be left behind by an insufficient minimum wage – and it’s time that changed,” Cuomo said. “Today in New York, we are leading by example and creating an economy that is defined by opportunity, not inequality. We are restoring the fairness and economic justice that built the American dream and standing up for what’s right. I am proud of what we continue to accomplish, because New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”

Approximately 10,000 state employees will be benefited by the Governor’s action, including those in all Executive Agencies, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the independently elected agencies of the Department of Law and the Office of State Comptroller. Approximately 9,000 employees are outside of New York City, and 1,000 within New York City.

This change will be reflected in the State’s Budget Policy and Reporting Manual. When fully phased in on July 1, 2021, this wage increase has an annual projected cost of roughly $20.6 million, including the anticipated effect of fringe benefits.

The increase, which was announced by the Governor at a rally for low-wage workers in New York City, will be implemented on the same phased-in schedule currently underway for fast food workers. In New York City, that means a new minimum wage of $10.50 on Dec. 31, $12 the end 2016, $13.50 to end 2017 and $15 to end 2018. Outside New York City, increases would be more gradual, starting with a bump to $9.75 on Dec. 31 and increasing $1 per year through 2019. It would then increase to $14.50 in 2020 and $15 in 2021.

Two state employee unions immediately applauded the governor's actions.

CSEA released a statement saying, "On a day when there is national focus on economic fairness, Governor Andrew Cuomo has demonstrated bold leadership that will benefit undervalued working people and send a clear message that this issue cannot be ignored. The governor's action will have positive practical impact and will be good for New York's economy as a whole."

PEF President Wayne Spencer said, "The Public Employees Federation commends Governor Cuomo for acting to increase the minimum wage for state workers in New York. With this action, the governor is lifting thousands of low-wage workers. These workers are our brothers and sisters and what benefits them, ultimately benefits all of us. Better wages mean a stronger economy in New York, sustainable jobs, growing families and prospering communities. In an era of outsized executive compensation and a robust stock market, this is a basic step toward fairness in society. On this National Day of Action for $15, the governor has made New York state a leader in the fight for fair wages."

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.


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