Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a diverse statewide coalition of advocacy, social justice, religious and community leaders have joined together in support of the "Fight for Fair Pay" campaign to raise the minimum wage in this year. These 115 community leaders join 85 private sector business and 86 faith-based leaders representing broad statewide support of the Governor’s proposal, which increases the minimum wage from the current $8.75 to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in New York City.
"Raising the minimum wage will help our lowest wage workers afford a path out of poverty and toward a better future, and I am pleased these community leaders from all corners of New York State are standing with us to fight for fair pay," Governor Cuomo said. "These organizations serve diverse communities across the state, and I am proud to have their support as we work together to combat poverty and make a difference for more than one million New Yorkers. Ensuring fair pay is the right thing to do, and I urge the state legislature to stand with us this year."
In total, 1.3 million New Yorkers will experience higher wages as a result of the minimum wage increase, which translates into a $3.4 billion direct economic value statewide – meaning that more New Yorkers will have more money to spend on goods and services in their community. During the last six increases in New York State’s minimum wage, employment subsequently increased in industries with many minimum wage workers.
Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NYS Conference of NAACP said, "We know that this legislation is not only the right thing to do, but it is the moral thing to do."
Beth Finkel, New York State Director of AARP said, "AARP supports Governor Cuomo’s proposal to bring the minimum wage more in line with the cost of living. Full-time, year-round work doesn’t cut it for too many families, who still lack a decent standard of living. Low-wage jobs typically provide no health insurance or pension coverage, little if any paid time off, and virtually no job security – and low-wage workers often find it necessary to work two full-time jobs to make ends meet. The Governor’s proposal would help lift families out of poverty."
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York said, "Catholic Charities sees firsthand, every day the needs of working men and women who are struggling to provide for their families. The dim prospect many face in obtaining jobs with decent wages burdens New York families. Too many are working more than one minimum wage job. Raising the minimum wage affords working families a better opportunity to pay the rent, put a decent meal on the table and meet other basic needs. As a recent study, commissioned by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, UJA-Federation, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, demonstrates, raising the minimum wage would have a significant impact on reducing poverty in New York. Decent work with decent wages is critical for all New Yorkers to live their lives in dignity."
Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank for New York City and Chair of the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force said, "One in five adults on a food pantry or soup kitchen line in New York City has a job – that’s almost 200,000 New Yorkers who are working but not earning enough to provide for themselves and their families. A minimum wage hike will certainly pose a strain on many charities’ budgets, but in our high-cost city and state, low wages are a major cause of food insecurity. We commend Governor Cuomo’s leadership to address a key root cause of hunger."
Roberta Keller, Executive Director of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. said, "Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. supports Governor Andrew Cuomo in his ‘Fight for Fair Pay,’ and endorses his proposed increase to the minimum wage. We strongly believe that the hard-working families in Chautauqua County should be able to support their families with decency and pride, and not be at poverty’s doorstep. The proposed increase is an important first step in addressing the indefensible polarization of income that we witness in this country and in the state."
Community leaders who have joined the Governor’s Fight for Fair Pay campaign include:
Central New York
New York City
Western New York
A chart of the regional breakdown of the $3.4 billion in direct economic value and 1.3 million New Yorkers who will experience higher wages as a result of the increase is available here.
This week, 85 business and 86 faith-based leaders from across New York expressed support for the Governor’s Fight for Fair Pay campaign. The Governor is urging New Yorkers to join the #Fight4FairPay campaign by contacting their state legislators; details are available on the Fight for Fair Pay website.
A reasonable minimum wage can help improve the standard of living for workers, reduce poverty, encourage fair and more efficient business practices, and ensure that the most vulnerable members of the workforce can contribute to the economy. An increase in the minimum wage will affect women and adults most, and lift more than 100,000 New Yorkers out of poverty.
More than 594,000 New Yorkers earn the current minimum wage of $8.75 per hour. The State has taken action to raise the minimum wage incrementally from $7.25, when Governor Cuomo came to office, to $9.00 by the end of 2015. This progress has been important, but it has not been enough to make up fully for a trend that had seen the minimum wage fall far below the average hourly wage in the state, now over $30. The Governor proposes to again raise the minimum wage to increase earnings for many wage earners in low-income households, which will also aid local economies.