Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced the minimum wage for State University of New York workers will increase, incrementally, to $15 per hour by 2021, and he plans to ask the state legislature to do the same for all New Yorkers.
Gov. Cuomo said the pay hike will affect about 28,000 SUNY workers during a rally at the Manhattan headquarters of Local 1199 SEIU, a New York City union for health care workers, Jan. 4.
“This state thrives when every New Yorker has the opportunity, and the ability, to succeed,” Cuomo stated. “Yet, the truth is that today’s minimum wage still leaves far too many people behind, unacceptably condemning them to a life of poverty even while they work full-time. This year, we are going to change that. We are going to raise the minimum wage to bring economic opportunity back to millions of hardworking New Yorkers, and lead the nation in the fight for fair pay.”
Previously, Cuomo had used executive orders to raise the state’s minimum wage for fast-food, and state workers to $15 per hour, an increase he said would take place on a phased-in basis.
The pay raise for SUNY workers will follow the same schedule, he said, and increase gradually, until it reaches $15 per hour December 31, 2018 in New York City, and July 1, 2021 statewide.
“Minimum wage is about $18,000 a year, food costs about $9,000 a year, rent is about $11,000 a year, clothing is about $6,000 a year,” Cuomo stated. “The numbers don’t even add up. This is below a subsistence level. You can’t make it on a minimum wage job. You need two, three, four minimum wage jobs to actually make it, and that’s not what the minimum wage was all about.”
According to Cuomo’s office, if the state were to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all workers, it would directly benefit 2.3 million workers across New York State, which would be about a quarter of the state’s total workforce. New York would have the highest minimum wage in the country.
Here is a breakdown of the number of individuals who would be affected by an increase in minimum-wage, statewide:
- Capital: 144,415
- Central NY: 98,689
- Finger Lakes: 166,398
- Hudson Valley: 281,104
- Long Island: 382,236
- Mohawk Valley: 54,757
- North Country: 43,423
- Southern Tier: 77,291
- Western NY: 187,187
- New York City: 927,400
- Total: 2,362,900
In addition, here’s a breakdown of the SUNY employees who will be affected by the organization’s minimum wage increase, by region:
- Western New York: 5,833
- Finger Lakes: 2,989
- Southern Tier: 2,960
- Central NY: 4,106
- Mohawk Valley: 1,768
- North Country: 2,196
- Capital Region: 1,985
- Mid-Hudson Valley: 2,188
- New York City: 598
- Long Island: 3,918
According to the state, SUNY will pay for the wage increase, which it has projected will cost an estimated $28 million.
State lawmakers have also reportedly said they will hold hearings to decide whether a minimum wage for workers statewide would be appropriate.
Cuomo has named his minimum wage campaign the “Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice,” after his late father, Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York.