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Post date: May 6 2015

Statement by A.G. Schneiderman on the Decision to Convene a Wage Board on Minimum Wage

Decision Must Be Step Toward a Real Living Wage for New York Workers

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement on today’s announcement that Governor Andrew Cuomo will direct the NYS Department of Labor to convene a wage board to consider an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers:

“All across our state, men and women working full time jobs are living below the poverty line. This is unconscionable. As I spoke about last month, state law allows the Commissioner of Labor to convene a wage board to investigate and increase the minimum wage for any occupation if the commissioner determines that a substantial number of employees are receiving wages insufficient to provide adequate maintenance and to protect their health. I am gratified that the Governor has responded by directing the commissioner to convene a wage board for fast food workers.

“Whether the Legislature votes to increase the minimum wage or the wage board acts on its own, our goal must be to adopt a real living wage for fast food and other low-wage workers in New York. Communities across the country – from San Francisco, to Seattle, to Chicago -- have already increased their minimum wages to as much as $15 per hour. Sadly, here in New York, our state’s minimum wage remains a paltry $8.75 an hour, on track to go up to $9 at year’s end, but nowhere near the living wage that workers need to take care of themselves and their families. Hopefully, today’s announcement is the first step toward ensuring a living wage for hard working New Yorkers.”

Last month, Attorney General Schneiderman published an op-ed in the New York Daily News that noted the Governor has the authority to direct the commissioner of labor to convene a wage board “to investigate and make recommendations about wage levels.” He noted that this process has been used twice in recent years, in limited ways, to raise wages for certain categories of workers.

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