Bus Tour Launches as Part of Push to Raise NY Wages


Governor Cuomo, 1199 SEIU, NYS AFL-CIO, PEF, IBT Local 237, Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Teamsters & NYS Nurses Association Rally in Manhattan, Bronx & Long Island to Fight for Fair Pay

Governor Urges Legislature to Pass $15 Phased-In Minimum Wage this Legislative Session

New Yorkers Encouraged to Visit www.ny.gov/Fightfor15 to Get Involved and Learn More about the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice

ATTN: Photos of the ‘Drive for $15' Bus Tour Are Available Here: bit.ly/1oF6oxL

The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice today launched the ‘Drive for $15' bus tour in Manhattan, rallying with dozens of labor leaders and state and local elected officials in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 for all workers. If enacted, the proposal would make New York State the first in the nation to adopt a $15 all-industry minimum wage. The renewed push comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo's recently released minimum wage report which found that raising the minimum wage to $15 would benefit more than 2.3 million workers and boost direct spending power by more than $15.7 billion in New York State. The Governor is urging the State Legislature to pass his phased-in minimum wage proposal this session. “Today is about fairness and standing up for basic decency, humanity and justice for all New Yorkers. Every working man and woman in New York State deserves a $15 minimum wage - and we will not stop until we get it done,” Governor Cuomo said. “We're taking this fight for fairness on the road, driving all over the state to rally support for raising the minimum wage. This is the year we enact a $15 minimum wage and restore economic justice and bring hope and opportunity to millions of New York's working families.” “I am proud to stand with Governor Cuomo today in our continued efforts to guarantee fair pay for an honest day's work,” George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and the Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, said.“No New Yorker who works hard should be forced to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table. Homecare workers, nurse assistants, airport workers, childcare workers, adjunct professors and all working people deserve dignity, security and the opportunity to build a better future for their children. The Drive for $15 is the next step in convincing the legislature to pass the Governor's proposal.” "This is smart public policy that is long overdue and we are pleased the Governor is taking the right step toward addressing poverty and income inequality," said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. "Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will provide hard-working men and women with the dignity and self-respect that comes with earning a fair day's pay for an honest day's work." "NYSNA is united in the fight against low wages. Low wages and poverty have created an overwhelming and growing public health crisis in our state, and we praise Governor Cuomo for taking the progressive step towards raising the wages of millions of New Yorkers," said Jill Furillo, RN, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association. “NYSNA stands at the ready to push harder for a $15 minimum wage for all workers. After all, decent pay is critical to the health of all New Yorkers." “I am proud to be part of Governor Cuomo's Drive for $15,” said Wayne Spence, President, New York State Public Employees Federation. “Increasing the minimum wage for thousands of low wage New Yorkers will result in a stronger economy in New York, sustainable jobs, growing families and prospering communities. PEF commends the Governor for his leadership in this fight and for recognizing the importance of fair wages for all New Yorkers.” “We strongly support Governor Cuomo's effort to reduce income inequality in New York by increasing the minimum wage to $15 and urge the legislature to support the measure,” saidGary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.“By giving countless New Yorkers a raise, we will help create unprecedented economic opportunity across the state and needed financial security to working families." “Too many working families still struggle to make ends meet," said Gregory Floyd, President, Teamsters Local 237. "That is why I strongly support Governor Cuomo's push for a $15 minimum wage. It will help improve the quality of life of working men and women as well as restore dignity to the workplace. It is the right thing to do.” "Governor Cuomo led New York to $15 an hour for fast food workers and now he is working to make that dream a reality for all workers,” said George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16. “The Teamsters stand with Governor Cuomo and the Fight for 15 because every family deserves to make enough to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. It is time for the legislature to act and bring a $15 minimum wage to New York." Raising the minimum wage increases the standard of living for workers, reduces poverty, and incentivizes fair and efficient business practices - ensuring all members of the workforce can contribute to the economy. Across the state, 50 percent of workers earning $15 per hour or less are 35 or older. In New York City, 80 percent of these minimum wage workers are over age 25, and more than half are 35 or older. Governor Cuomo has lead the fight for fair pay by raising the minimum wage for tipped workers, increasing the minimum wage to $15 for all fast food workers, and enacting a $15 minimum wage for 10,000 state workers and 28,000 SUNY employees. In 2013, the Governor set in motion a statewide minimum wage increase that raised wages to $9 per hour. While this progress has been important, there is still more work to be done - especially as the minimum wage continues to fall so far below the average hourly wage in the state, which is now over $27. An increase to $15 would bring the minimum hourly wage up from 32 percent to 55 percent of the state average wage, thereby reducing income inequality in New York State. It also restores the promise of fairness: If New York's current minimum wage were indexed to inflation and adjusted for cost of living differences it would be approximately $15 today. What a $15 minimum wage means in New York City:  
Workers Earning Current Minimum Wage of $9.00 Workers Earning Minimum Wage of $15.00 Dollars Reinvested in Regional Economy
New York City 261,900 927,400 $6,500,000,000
For a statewide breakdown, view the minimum wage report here. Boosting New York Families Raising the minimum wage is especially important for New York's families. Today more than half of covered workers are women; 54 percent in New York City; and 55 percent in the rest of the state. The current minimum wage pays roughly $18,720 per year. For a single mother with two children, that's below the official poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would increase workers incomes by nearly $13,000 per year - enough for a single earner to support a family of five above poverty. This is not a theoretical proposition. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would directly affect more than 250,000 New Yorkers in poverty - a total of approximately 110,000 families. An estimated 927,400 workers living in New York City will experience increased wages by raising the minimum wage to $15. Growing New York State's Economy Higher wages for low-income workers leads to more economic activity and employment in low-income communities. Studies show that every dollar increase in the minimum wage results in $2,800 in new consumer spending by household. Raising the minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of working families when they need it most, giving them additional spending power. This projected rise in consumer spending is critical to continued economic growth, especially when weak consumer demand is one of the factors holding back new hiring. The NYS Department of Labor projects that the proposed increase in the minimum wage outside New York City will generate $9.2 billion annually in increased wages, with $6.5 billion annually in increased wages in New York City—tallying to a significant boost of over $15.7 billion for the state's economy. A substantial body of academic research has shown that increasing the minimum wage does not lead to job loss. Research shows higher wages lead to greater productivity and increased worker retention, saving employers recruitment and training costs. A review of 70 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable negative effect on employment. In fact, surrounding state's that have increased their minimum wage have seen no indication of downturn connected to that increase. Since 1991, New York State has increased its minimum wage eight times, and six of those times, data shows an uptick in employment following the wage increase. An analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs and CEPR found that the thirteen states - including New York - that increased their state minimum wage in 2014 had higher rates of employment growth than the national average. Enabling Employers to Plan The economic benefits of increasing the minimum wage outweigh the costs. But to provide businesses with the opportunity to plan, and in order to be sensitive to the relative abilities of different regional economies to absorb the change, the proposal phases-in the increase in New York's minimum wage in New York City and more gradually in the rest of the state, on the following schedule:
New York City Statewide (excluding NYC)
Min. Wage Effective Date Min. Wage Effective Date
$10.50 7/1/2016 $9.75 7/1/2016
$12.00 12/31/2016 $10.75 12/31/2016
$13.50 12/31/2017 $11.75 12/31/2017
$15.00 12/31/2018 $12.75 12/31/2018
$13.75 12/31/2019
$14.50 12/31/2020
$15.00 7/1/2021
Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, "I am proud that Governor Cuomo is leading the nation in taking bold actions to securing a pay raise to our working families. Ensuring a living wage is not just about providing fair compensation, but also preserving justice and dignity. Governor Cuomo's efforts will help combat income inequality in our City and Great State. As I keep pushing to raise the federal minimum wage, I will fight alongside the Governor to ensure we raise the minimum wage for New Yorkers." Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said, “The time has come for New Yorkers to earn a minimum wage that keeps pace with the rising cost of living and that will meet their financial needs. Requiring hard-working women and men to sustain their families on anything less guarantees greater income inequality and nurtures the entrenchment of poverty in communities throughout our state. The implications of keeping wages at their current level for state, fast food and tipped workers is quite frankly negligent, especially given that so many families are reliant on these wages as their sole source of income. Here in New York City, over 900,000 workers stand to benefit from this statewide increase. I applaud Governor Cuomo for joining the fight with other jurisdictions to justly raise the minimum wage to ensure all of New York keeps pace with the cost of living and restores the dignity of its workers by providing fair pay for its hard working families.” State Senator Adriano Espaillat said “The economy of the United States has changed and for far too long the minimum wage has not kept pace. As a result, millions of New Yorkers who work full time are not paid a wage commensurate with their efforts and continue to live in poverty. I stand firmly with Governor Cuomo and labor leaders in our fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It's what is fair, right and just for all New Yorkers.” Senator Brad Hoylman said, “In the push for fair wages it is critical that we stand with the Governor and fight for New Yorkers' best interests by passing a $15 minimum wage this legislative session. Such an increase would raise countless families out of poverty and spur economic growth by putting more money in more families' pockets. Together, we can ensure a future economy in New York that restores economic justice, rewards hard work and creates opportunities everywhere. I'm grateful to Gov. Cuomo for leading the way." Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright said, ““Inadequate wages force many families to rely on safety-net programs and public assistance in order to make sure their children don't go hungry. Boosting the minimum wage will improve the quality of life for working families and ensure every New Yorker has the chance to succeed. New York State can only be as strong as the weakest among us. I strongly urge the state legislature to enact and pass a $15 minimum wage this legislative session.” Assemblyman Guillermo Linares said, “Governor Cuomo's plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 will benefit millions of taxpayers and hardworking New Yorkers across the state. By raising the wage to $15, we can lift millions of New Yorkers out of poverty and increase their standard of living. Supporting the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice will help to ensure that the legislature pass this proposal quickly, and I commend the Governor's commitment to economic equality in New York.” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, "The fight for $15 is about fairness for workers, and about growing our economy. I am honored to join Governor Cuomo to kick off his “Drive for $15” tour to rally for a $15 minimum wage, a critical tool to help fight income inequality in our state. Low-wage workers are making less money now than they were six years ago. We need to raise the wage so hard-working New Yorkers can afford to raise families and build their communities in our state.