Amsterdam News: Raise Up NY Coalition commemorates 10-year anniversary of the Fight for $15 and Call for a $21 Minimum Wage

Amsterdam News, Nov 17, 2022

On Nov. 15, Raise Up NY, Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Comptroller Brad Lander gathered to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Fight for $15 with a rally at City Hall, and to launch a new campaign for a $21 minimum wage for New York. 

The coalition, known as Raise Up NY, which includes workers, labor unions, community organizations, and businesses, demanded that the New York State legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul act swiftly to raise New York State’s minimum wage, which has eroded dramatically in recent years as the cost of living has spiraled. ...

Raise Up NY came together to fight for legislation (S3062D/A7503C—bill numbers are subject to change pending re-introduction) introduced by Senator Ramos and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. If passed, the legislation would catch New York’s minimum wage back up to where it would have been if it had been adjusted each year since 2019 to keep up with rising prices and worker productivity gains. That translates to raising the wage to $21.25 by 2026. After that, it would automatically adjust the wage each year so that it wouldn’t fall behind again. And while upstate New York never made it to $15 an hour under the last compromise minimum wage deal, Raise Up NY’s proposed legislation would catch all of the state up to the same wage level by 2027. ...

About 50 cities and counties and two states will have wages above $15 an hour as of January 2023—and a growing group will have minimum wages of more than $17 or $18 an hour. The fact that Yakima, Washington; Fresno, California; and Denver, Colorado will all have higher minimum wages than New York shows how far pay has fallen in the state.

“Our restaurant chain is succeeding and growing in a very competitive industry because we realize that our most valuable stakeholders are employees. Higher wages are the single clearest way to say to our workforce, ‘We value you,’” said Michael Lastoria, founder and CEO of &pizza and member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Raising and indexing the minimum wage is an essential way for lawmakers to say to New Yorkers, ‘We value you.’ And higher wages lead to greater consumer spending and greater workforce productivity, things every company benefits from. It’s time to raise New York’s minimum wage.”  ...

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