New York Fast-Food Workers Just Scored a Big Win In Their Fight For a Living Wage

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/126164815@N04/17162302381/in/photolist-s9zhzc-s9CtHn-s9zqdP-rcCnMo-rcCtH1-rcCoQ5-s7kyEU-rS4nJW-rS4dBs-rSbnH8-s9u5GA-s7kDP1-rQirta-s7kxCo-rQiAnT-rcQ85T-s7ksMm-rSbgU4-rSbmCH-s7kAAh-s9zoBn-s9zkEv-rS4io1-rS35td-s9zmE6-fozL9Q-fozLHW-fozLxE-fozKYu-foku24-foktJv-fokupn-fokuk6-nCk7YS-nAi7E3-nkQC55-nCknCx-nC6FVj-nkQZem-nCk5QU-nCkr25-nC3JkK-nkQeuf-nC3w3t-nCjEeE-nC6E17-nC7geJ-AvpDN-atPLoW-pGFREG">MTEA</a>/Flickr


In a widely expected move, a panel appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended today that the state’s minimum wage for employees of fast-food chain restaurants be raised to $15 an hour.

The recommendation comes three years after strikes by New York City fast-food workers set off a national labor movement that has led to the passage of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. But unlike those cities, New York doesn’t have the power to set its own minimum wage—it’s up to legislators in Albany.

When New York lawmakers balked at raising the minimum wage last year, Gov. Cuomo convened a board to examine wages in the fast food industry, which employs 180,000 people in the state. The state’s labor commissioner, a Cuomo appointee, has the power to issue an order putting the proposal into effect. If he approves the wage hike, fast-food workers currently earning the state’s minimum wage of $8.75 will get a 70 percent raise, effective by 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state.

“It’s hard to explain to my children why they can’t do things other kids do,” Barbara Kelley, a Buffalo mother who works at Dunkin’ Donuts and takes home an average of $150 a week, said in a statement released by labor organizers. “With $15 an hour, I will be able to get by and maybe reward my kids in little ways, like ice cream after a long day, and in big ways like being able to save for the future.” Labor organizers are optimistic that the $15 wage will be adopted and will spur raises in other industries.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.