minimum wage increase

Scott Willis / WAER News

Supporters and opponents of a $15 minimum wage in New York are blasting reports that Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers have reached a compromise that could stretch out the phase in period, and exempt farmers from the higher pay requirements.  

With the March 31 deadline looming, and the Easter holiday in between, Governor Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly are trying to negotiate a compromise on the governor’s proposal to phase in a $15 

  minimum wage for New York State.

John Smith, WAER News

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stop in Solvay this week to tout the benefits of raising the minimum wage, Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco and business owners and other groups including Unshackle Upstate are attempting to stifle any enthusiasm for the plan.  They say the plan could really amount to placing them at a disadvantage; which actually would be the reverse of Cuomo and his supporters’ optimism.  If the wage increase is implemented, they say it would ultimately raise their costs so much, some of their lower wage employees could see their hours reduced or risk losing their jobs altogether.  DeFrancisco has been the subject of attack ads on TV by SEIU Local 32BJ casting him with holding a net worth of $6 million dollars.  We caught up with DeFrancisco just as he was being informed about another group swinging punches at him for his opposition of the Cuomo plan.

Governor.ny.gov

  Governor Cuomo announced he’s raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour.  

That did not stop advocates from protesting at the Dunkin Donuts at the state Capitol, saying the governor’s  recent phased in wage increase for fast food workers is too slow.

Minimum Reality Wage Check / http://www.minimumwagerealitycheck.com/news-release/organizations-join-together-to-oppose-minimum-wage-hike/

  Farmers and small business owners from across Central and Upstate New York gathered in Albany on Wednesday to announce their unified position against the proposed $15 hourly minimum wage.  Dozens of business organizations and trade associations representing everyone from tourism and retail to restaurants and transportation have formed a coalition to oppose the wage hike.  Executive director of Unshackle Upstate Greg Biryla says most studies show a correlation between wage hikes and the cost of goods and services.

Scott Willis

Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Solvay on Wednesday to speak with labor and community leaders about a proposal to raise the minimum wage.  His message: a salary of $18,000 – about the annual income for a minimum wage worker – isn't enough to cover the necessary expenses in the state of New York.

"You can't pay for food and rent and clothing and medical and heat and electric," Cuomo said. "It just doesn't work. Do the math."

Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance

The leader of the union representing tipped service workers in the Syracuse area says the base wage hike will not only benefit employees, but also the larger economy. The State Labor Department this week approved a $7.50 hourly wage to take effect at year's end for waitstaff, banquet servers, and other hospitality workers who also receive tips. President of Unite Here Local 150, Ann Marie Taliercio, says the 50% increase will help some at the bottom of the scale and shouldn't hurt business.

New York State Department of Labor

  New York Workers recovered a record amount of money in 2014 that their employers held back in pay and benefits.  The State Department of Labor reports nearly 27,000 workers have recovered their wages in the past year totaling 30 million dollars. Tully Rinckey Partner Graig Zappia works with clients on labor laws regarding wages and benefits.  He says employees need to be diligent about protecting their rights. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse coalition of community advocates, elected officials, and labor groups have joined a statewide campaign to raise the minimum wage as the legislative session begins to wind down.  

They gathered in front of a fast food restaurant on Erie Boulevard Thursday to kick off their effort, which also includes empowering local governments to enact their own higher wages.  Citizen Action Organizing Director Rosemary Rivera says Governor Cuomo has said he supports a statewide minimum of $10.10 an hour, up from the current $8.00.

senator kirsten gillibrand stands at a wooden podium
WAER News

Women might be the key in passing an increase to the federal minimum wage – or at least that’s how New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to frame the wage legislation to her congressional colleagues.  She highlighted the issue Tuesday on “Equal Pay Day,” the date to which women would have to work to match the pay men got for the same job last calendar year.