Legislative Alert: March 10, 2023
Raise and Index the Minimum Wage
The Governor’s budget proposal includes an important improvement to the state’s minimum wage law by proposing an indexation model to annually increase the amount based on the rate of inflation. While this proposal needs work, it would be a historic change for our state and for the millions of people who work in minimum wage jobs.
The Governor’s budget proposes an annual increase of the lesser of 3% or the rate of inflation. This caps what the increase could be at too low a level and sends a signal to employers that wage increases of 3% are sufficient. We strongly urge the legislature and Governor to instead include an annual increase of the GREATER of 3% or the rate of inflation, so that the minimum wage keeps pace with the true cost of living and we don't create an arbitrary cap on the benefit level.
Also, the Governor’s proposal begins indexing at the current minimum wage rate. Instead, the current minimum wage should be increased to account for the last several years of inflation and other cost of living increases that are not yet built into the benefit. As such, the New York State AFL-CIO supports a proposal that would gradually raise the minimum age to $21.25 by 2027 and then indexes the benefit from that level.
All other workers subject to alternative minimum wages, which includes home care workers or those covered by wage orders, should maintain the current ratio above the minimum wage as we move forward so they can keep pace with the true cost of living. Finally, the Governor proposes a mechanism to suspend the annual indexation of the benefit if certain economic indicators are met. We urge that this proposal be rejected as it is during these times that workers most need the increases.
Indexation of the minimum wage will create stability for workers and businesses alike by allowing predictable and manageable increases that workers can rely on and businesses can budget and plan for. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to make this happen.
Mario Cilento, President
LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, March 13, 2023, 1:00 p.m.
Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado will be the guest speaker.