Governor Cuomo to Raise Minimum Wage for Fast-Food Workers

NYHTC — May 12, 2015

On Thursday, May 7th nearly 500 HTC members joined SEIU 32BJ and SEIU 1199 members in Union Square Park to hear Governor Cuomo announce his progressive plan to form a wage board to investigate and implement a higher minimum wage for fast food workers.

Across the country fast food workers have been demanding a living-wage, and on Thursday Governor Cuomo answered their call.

"I want to get out of the burger business," declared Cuomo to the positively electric crowd. “I don’t want the taxpayers of New York subsidizing the profits of McDonald’s anymore.”

While the fast food industry continues to grow and its executives rake in massive profits, wages for its workers have risen only minimally since 2000. The average yearly pay for an entry-level fast food worker in NY State is $16,920. Over 70 percent of fast food workers are above age 20 and 26 percent are raising children. With wages so low, many fast food workers are forced to depend on government assistance. Consequently, NY State spends over $6000 per fast food worker in government assistance, which amounts to a $700 million annual cost to taxpayers.

In New York City, where housing costs seem to rise by the day including in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, raising the wage to $15 per hour would take a great step towards closing the gap between wages and the cost of living for many of the state’s nearly 200,000 fast food restaurant workers.

Raising the wage would also help narrow the gap between union and non-union wages for workers in the New York restaurant industry. This would combat the “race to the bottom” in which companies that pay a fair wage, in order to better compete with companies paying poverty wages, look to cut costs by lowering their employees’ wages.

Once convened, the wage board will return with a decision in three months. Click this link to sign a petition to urge them to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Click the links below to read more about Governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise wages for fast food workers in New York:

Andrew M. Cuomo. Fast-Food Workers Deserve a Raise. The New York Times. May 6, 2015. 

John Del Signore. Cuomo Will Bypass Legislature to Give Fast Food Workers a Raise. Gothamist. May 7, 2015.

Governor Andrew Cuomo shaking hands with Westin Times Square Room Attendant Siu Ping Fok.