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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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