minimum wage increase

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.