minimum wage

Oliver Hine / via Flickr

A continuing study of low-wage workers in Central New York shows that many suffer from physical ailments caused by the job. And the situation takes a toll on their mental health as well.

The Low-Wage Workers Health Project has spent the last two years getting a sense of what life is like for someone living at the poverty level in the Syracuse area.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr


A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for a phased in $15 an hour minimum wage is resonating among his base group of supporters. The Siena poll also finds the governor’s job approval rating is still at near record low levels. 

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The push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is getting some help from union financed advertising, but it still has its opponents.  

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The leader of the Business Council  of New York State says her group will fight Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, but concedes that the legislation may become law soon.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be  pushing for a bill to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour in the new legislative session, but some say it could backfire and result in fewer jobs.

Cuomo, speaking recently at an event with Vice President Joe Biden, quoted from his own father, former Gov.  Mario Cuomo’s famous "tale of two cities" speech at the 1984 Democratic convention, saying he wanted to continue his father’s cause of economic justice by making a $15 an hour universal minimum wage in New York a top priority.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo


Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll try to get the state legislature to broaden an increase in the state’s minimum wage beyond fast food workers, but the newly appointed deputy majority leader of the state Senate is throwing some cold water on that plan.

Cuomo, who used his executive powers through a wage board to phase in a $15 an hour rate for fast food workers, says next he wants to try to get a similar increase through the state legislature next year. Earlier, he spoke about his desire to increase the minimum wage for all workers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Don’t expect the decision last week by the New York State Wage Board to boost the minimum wage for New York’s fast food workers to $15 an hour to be the end of the story. At least one central New York lawmaker expects this to be the beginning of a bigger debate.

For Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, there’s no question that the state’s minimum wage should be upped to $15 an hour for everyone.

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While supporters are declaring victory over New York’s new higher minimum wage for fast food workers, the action, by a state wage board, highlights a larger question why are so many in the state dependent for their livelihoods on what are essentially entry level work force jobs.

The victory celebration by fast food workers and the state’s major union leaders also featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor, who appointed the board when Republicans in the legislature were reluctant to act, predicts more actions to come.

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A state wage board has voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state in the nation to increase the wage for a single segment of the work force.

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A wage board convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to vote to raise the hourly minimum rate for fast food workers in New York state from the current $8.75 cents an hour to as high as $15 an hour when it meets on Wednesday.

The board was appointed by Cuomo when Republicans in the New York State Senate did not agree to raise the minimum wage any higher than the current phased-in increase, which will bring the minimum wage to $9 an hour by the end of this year.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A wage board appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking before a packed crowd of fast food workers, says it will authorize a substantial raise for fast food workers, but would not say when, or even if the increase would be the $15 an hour that many groups are seeking.

A three-member board picked by Cuomo to examine whether fast food workers need a raise say they are in agreement that the current wage of $8.75 an hour needs to be much higher.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

The fourth and final hearing was held by a board specially appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to consider raising the minimum wage for fast food workers in New York.

Outside, supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour held a rally.

Inside, dozens of fast food workers were among those who testified at the last hearing held by Cuomo’s wage board, which is examining whether to raise the state’s minimum wage beyond the current rate of increase to $9 an hour by the end of 2015.

Kramchang / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at a large union rally in New York City’s Union Square to raise the minimum wage, called out fast food chains McDonalds and Burger King by name and accused them of corporate greed for under-paying workers.

Cuomo, in an animated speech, says fast food chains make huge profits while relying on taxpayers subsidies, like food stamps, to make up for the low pay they give their workers.

The governor says he’ll bypass the legislature and create a state board to examine increasing the state's minimum wage for fast food workers.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With some successes but little political momentum, organized labor and low wage workers are continuing to call for a $15 minimum wage. 

Brittany Buffman once earned minimum wage in a job at the dining halls of Syracuse University. She says union efforts to pump pay the college allowed her and her husband to buy a house and raise a family.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

Cuomo spent a week in January rolling out his ambitious budget agenda, which contained plans for a new criminal justice system for teens who commit serious crimes and a major upstate economic development program. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The state Assembly, Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo continue to work on sticking points in the state budget, as yet another item has now been dropped from the spending plan -- raising the state’s minimum wage.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A protest to raise the minimum wage drew hundreds to the state Capitol, and included a brief occupation of the building’s Dunkin' Donuts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are considering hiking the minimum wage in the new budget, but protesters say it is not enough.

The protesters, who have been holding rallies every week, stepped up their efforts when around 100 stormed into the Capitol’s Dunkin' Donuts and demanded that the state’s minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

Amid talks to raise the minimum wage in New York, farmers are calling on the lawmakers to keep it where it is.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 upstate and $11.50 downstate.

The New York Farm Bureau says the state has some of the highest agricultural labor costs in the country. They say farm workers in New York are paid $12.15 an hour on average.

Dean Norton, a farmer in western New York and president of the state Farm Bureau, says whenever there’s a minimum wage hike, he’s forced to raise his wages, too.

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A state wage board has agreed to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from $5.00 to $7.50 an hour. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the change at a rally with union leaders.

Cuomo, speaking to the union members, renewed his call to raise the state’s minimum wage for non-tipped workers to $10.50 an hour in the state, and $11.50 in New York City. Cuomo says businesses are making record profits .

“Business is doing well, God bless them,” Cuomo said. “But it is time that they share. We are looking at a polarization of income in this country like we’ve never seen before.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

In last week's State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour across the state and $11.50 in New York City by the end of 2016. The increase isn't a done deal though.

State business leaders criticize the measure they say would force them to slow hiring and cut hours.

Sharon Stiller, a Rochester-based employment law expert, says any change will affect state businesses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent the days leading up to this joint State of the State and budget message rolling out a number of new programs and proposals, including an anti-poverty agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, and tax cuts for small businesses.

Cuomo says as part of his budget, he’ll include a new phased-in increase of the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by the end of 2016. In New York City, the rate would rise to $11.50 an hour. The governor says New York City is arguably “the most expensive market” in the U.S.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Workers in New York who earn the minimum wage are getting a raise today. The state's minimum wage is now $8.75 an hour, up from the $8 it stood at before. It will fatten the paychecks for 284,000 employees across the state, according to the labor department.

"This is a good thing for workers in New  York state. Is it enough? No, it's not enough," said Ron Deutsch from the Fiscal Policy Institute, who argues wages should be be closer to $11 an hour, given inflation.

William Hartz / Flickr

A state panel is examining whether workers whose income is supplemented by tips should receive an increase in the minimum wage. The wage board, appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has held hearings and will make its decision early next year.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Advocates of raising the minimum wage see hope in recent statements by the leader of the state Senate, and hope a deal can be struck by the end of the year.

Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos, whose party will control the Senate in January, says while he thinks the state’s gradual increase of the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour next year is good enough, he’s willing to at least discuss raising it higher. Skelos, after meeting with Republican members, says he also wants a pay raise for senators.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins wants the minimum wage for New York workers to be nearly doubled.

Hawkins, the perennial political activist and UPS worker, is calling for the state’s minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour.

It’s $8 right now and on track to rise to $9 by the end of next year. Hawkins says that should also go for tipped workers, who right now make a base salary of just $5 an hour, something the state is considering.

An increase in the minimum wage reduces poverty and takes a burden off of welfare programs, he argues.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Most New Yorkers earning the minimum wage are seeing their pay increase slightly, but that doesn't go for those in the service industry who receive tips.

The state's minimum wage will be $9 an hour at the end of next year. It will stay flat for servers and other tipped workers at $5 an hour, plus those tips.

Now the state labor department is considering raising the tipped minimum wage, but restaurant owners are worried it will have a negative ripple effect.

William Hartz

Advocates for a higher minimum wage are urging for better wages for workers who rely on tips. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to create a committee to consider raising the minimum rate for the workers, and the groups say they have evidence that an increase is needed.

Currently, tipped workers in New York are not covered under a new law that allows the state’s minimum wage to increase to $9.00 an hour by 2016.  The minimum wage for workers like waiters and pizza deliverers who receive tips is still set at $5.00 an hour.

The state’s minimum wage is now $8 an hour, after a new law took effect Dec. 31. It’s part of a phased-in increase that will result in a $9 an hour rate for the state’s lowest income earners by 2016. But a leading lawmaker says the hike should be phased in faster, and advocates that tip earners, like wait staff, should also be included.  

A number of new state laws take effect in New York Jan. 1.  They include a few tax cuts and tax breaks, and even a new regulation that could impact the health of baby boomers.

Hitting the books in the new year are the first of three new tax cuts for small businesses and an additional nearly 10 percent tax cut for manufacturers.  Middle-income families are also getting tax relief in 2014. That affects people who make between $40,000 and $300,000 a year and who have at least one dependent child.