- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 20 April 2016
- Written by FORREST TAYLOR | STAFF WRITER
Governor Cuomo of New York signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and a 12-week paid family leave policy. The legislation was passed as a part of the 2016-17 state budget as an attempt by the governor to restore economic justice to working families in the state of New York.
Cuomo signed these two pieces of legislation prior to attending a huge victory rally, which included workers, labor leaders, along with elected officials. The rally took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Senior communications Major Matthew Spineli said, “It may seem like a good idea, but I personally hope it doesn’t limit the amount of jobs available for people.” Then continued, “It’s overall going to cost employers a ton of money to provide that minimum wage to every single employee.”
Professor Jennifer Shamrock, lecturer of communication, said, “The overall increase to the minimum wage has the ability to help out individuals in a positive way, and allow workers to earn a much more stable income that will hopefully help them live a more comfortable lifestyle in the near future.”
The Governor had the following to say about the overall policies, “By moving to a $15 statewide minimum wage and enacting the strongest paid family leave policy in the nation, New York is showing the way forward on economic justice, these policies will not only lift up the current generation of low-wage workers and their families, but ensure fairness for future generations and enable them to climb the ladder of opportunity.”
He continued, “I am proud to sign these programs into law, because they will ensure a stronger, fairer and brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
Governor Cuomo worked diligently to increase the minimum wage in New York State. In 2013, Cuomo signed legislation that raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to its current rate of $8.75. That legislation included another incremental increase to $9.00 that went into effect towards the close of 2015. The State Department of Labor also motioned for a wage board geared towards tipped workers. The Governor’s administration went on to accept that wage board’s recommendations, setting the stage for an increase in wages for tipped workers from $4.90, $5.00 and $5.65 to $7.50 per hour on December 31, 2015.
In his most recent activities, the Governor ordered the Department of Labor to empanel a wage board to make recommendations on an overall increase involving the minimum wage in the fast food industry. Earlier this year, then-Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino agreed to the recommendations and signed off on the official order setting the overall motion that paved the way to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. With the overall increase in minimum an estimated 200,000 fast food employees are expected to benefit from this increase.
Junior business management major at Monmouth, Michael Morse, said “I feel this increase will not only drive up prices, but also cause many establishments to cut their workforce due to the increased wages they will need to pay.” He continued to say, “Furthermore, it just simply does not seem fair for an entry level employee at minimum wage to be making $15 an hour, especially when many employees throughout the country at management positions do not even make that much.”
Overall reactions to the wage increase have been mixed throughout the media and residents of the state. However, in total more than 2.3 million New Yorkers (roughly 1,435,500 workers living outside of New York City and 927,400 living within New York City) will be directly benefitted by the Governor’s proposal to increase the minimum wage for workers in all industries to $15 per hour.
IMAGE TAKEN from abcnews.com