Share this article

print logo

Cuomo set to push for minimum wage of $15

NEW YORK – After devising a way to raise wages for fast-food workers, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is preparing to announce his support for a $15 minimum wage for all workers in New York State.

Cuomo, who earlier this year said a $13 minimum wage was a “nonstarter” in Albany, is scheduled Thursday afternoon to call for an across-the-board increase in the wage to $15, according to people who had been briefed on the plan but declined to be identified speaking ahead of the announcement.

Vice President Biden will join the governor, who is also a Democrat, for the announcement at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, these people said. A spokesman for the governor declined to comment Wednesday.

The push for an increase in the state’s minimum wage, now $8.75 an hour, has met resistance from Republican lawmakers in Albany. After they rebuffed an effort to raise it in the last session, Cuomo convened a panel, known as a wage board, to study the question of whether fast-food chains were paying fair wages.

The panel, whose three members were chosen by Cuomo, concluded that the minimum wage for workers employed by those chains should be raised in stages to $15 an hour. The increase would happen faster for workers in New York City than in the rest of the state, under the plan which still must be approved by the acting commissioner of the state Labor Department.

Business groups have criticized the governor’s approach, arguing that the steep increase would spur employers to lay off workers or reduce their hours. In Albany on Thursday, Republicans in the State Senate plan to hear complaints from business owners and others about the wage board process.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, has been calling for a $15 minimum wage in the city and $13 in the rest of the state. But in February, Cuomo’s office released a statement that described any hope of getting the Legislature in Albany to approve that idea as a “nonstarter.”

Since then, some other cities, including Los Angeles, have decided to raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour, in stages. Some prominent officials, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, have endorsed an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15, from its current level of $7.25.

President Obama has called for increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour. Biden was expected to lend support to Cuomo’s call for a statewide increase to $15.

The event Thursday will mark the second time in less than three months that Cuomo has held a joint appearance with Biden, who is considering a presidential campaign.

Cuomo, who served as housing secretary in the administration of President Bill Clinton, has already endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. Last week at an event in Albany, Cuomo told reporters that he’s sticking with the former first lady regardless of Biden’s decision.

“It doesn’t have to be that you support one person means you hate the other person,” Cuomo said.