New York became the first state to set a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. To expand that industry-specific pay hike, Governor Cuomo created the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice to back efforts aimed at providing a $15 minimum wage for all employees in the State.
New York’s Minimum Wage
On May 7, 2015, after he failed to obtain the New York Legislature’s agreement to adopt his proposed increases in the minimum wage, Governor Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Labor to establish a “wage board” to recommend an increase in the minimum wage for New York’s “fast food” industry. Under New York law, the Commissioner of Labor may appoint a wage board to investigate the adequacy of wages in the state. Although they have not been frequently used in the past, the Fast Food Wage Board was the second wage board convened by the Governor, and the first time a wage board has considered such a narrow sector of a recognized industry. Approximately 12 weeks later, the Fast Food Wage Board filed a report and recommendation in which it recommended dramatic increases in the minimum wage for “fast food” workers, implemented over several years, and culminating in a fast food minimum wage of $15 per hour. When announcing that the Commissioner of Labor had accepted the recommendation, Governor Cuomo stated, “[E]very working man and woman in the state of New York deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage and we are not going to stop until we get it done.” A few days later, the Governor launched the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, a campaign intended to support measures that will “make New York the first state in the nation to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage.”