NY State Governor Sets Minimum Wages for His State Employees
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a standard minimum wage for state workers. This measure was undertaken as an executive order and raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The new standard is inclusive for all seasonal and permanent state workers.
Cuomo has been Governor since 2011 and is the first to seek minimum wages for state employees. Current state labor laws exempt state employees from the standard practice of set wages. Because of the law, Governor Cuomo must seek authority through the Division of Budget. This grants him the power to set the minimums for state employees. He is the first Governor to use his office’s power in this manner.
A New Tone for Cuomo
Governor Cuomo was not always in favor of a $15 minimum wage. March saw the Democrat governor campaigning for a compromise in the wage standards. The Governor has stated before that the proposed minimum wage was too high. But now Governor Cuomo has had a recent change of heart.
In September Cuomo stated his intention to campaign for a statewide minimum of at least $15 an hour. This would be inclusive for all New York State employees. The fight is still on for the private sector minimum wage, with New York City leading the charge. On the public sector front, Governor Cuomo has forged ahead with his plan for state employees. He has named this campaign Fight For 15.
Fight for 15 will reduce the economic stress and burden that hourly workers face. The current state minimum wage is $8.75 an hour. This is a number that Governor Cuomo says is too low for even an individual to live on for a year. Supporters of the plan believe that $15 an hour gives working families a chance to survive. Many labor unions also believe it will bring in revenue and more jobs to the state.
The timeline, announced earlier this month, will see full implementation by 2021. The minimum wage is an executive authority action from Governor Cuomo. This means that the state must find the available funds within its own budget. The governor’s office released a timeline that shows the wage hikes for the next five years.
New York City, which has the highest cost of living within the state, will see the minimum wage rise by the end of 2018. The majority of state workers will receive a gradual wage rise until it reaches $15 an hour by the end of 2021.
The $15 an hour wage standard will affect over 5 percent of the total workforce in New York State. This leaves a total of 10,000 people seeing a rise in their standard of living. Most of those workers live in rural areas throughout the state.
Effect on New York City
The biggest impact on the passing of the minimum wage standard is within New York City. The city is the most expensive place to live within the United States. Currently, the state’s minimum wage for all workers is $8.75 an hour. That is only $1.50 more than the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour.
City public advocates have come forward to applaud the governor for his action. They have also urged a city-wide referendum to raise the wages for city workers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already pledged a $12 an hour minimum wage. But with the governor raising the wage standard, de Blasio may revisit the issue.
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Governor Cuomo’s sudden reversal has politicians reeling. Cuomo is now facing criticism from former friendly Republicans for bowing to political pressure. The governor has faced criticism for his close-knit working relationship with Republicans. With the action on this issue, the governor is making amends with his liberal base. Public-sector unions have come out in force to praise his measure.
Republican groups, such as Republicans in Albany, have resisted the new measure. Conservative businessmen state that its implementation could stagnant growth in the state. Even so, Governor Cuomo will forge ahead with his plan, and seeking to make it permanent. The governor will attempt to change state law to reflect the new minimum wage standard. Doing so will prevent any future governor from reversing the decision.
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