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New York Gov. Cuomo Recommends Statewide $15/Hour Minimum Wage

September 14, 2015

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on September 10 became the first governor in the country to publicly support a plan to raise his state’s minimum wage to $15/hour.

At a press conference with Vice President Joe Biden (D), Cuomo announced that he would ask the state legislature to raise the minimum wage “because a fast food worker deserves $15/hour, construction workers deserve $15/hour, and home health care aides deserve $15/hour.”

In 2014, home health aides earned a median hourly wage of $10.37, while personal care aides made $10.98/hour, PHI data shows. Home care aides in New York City and surrounding counties who work on Medicaid cases earn at least $10 an hour due to the city’s wage parity law.

“Every working man and woman in the state of New York deserves $15/hour as a minimum wage and we are not going to stop until we get it done,” Cuomo said.

New York’s current minimum wage is $8.75/hour, and is set to increase to $9 by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, Cuomo proposed to raise New York State’s minimum wage to $10.50/hour ($11.50 in New York City) by the end of 2016, but that plan was not taken up by the legislature.

“This is a whole new ballgame,” David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute told Fortune on September 10. “We’ve seen some of these efforts at [a] city level…but for a state to be proposing it, this is a big deal.”

In July, Cuomo announced a special statewide task force targeting worker exploitation in a number of industries, including home health care.

Spurred on by the ongoing Fight for $15 movement, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have enacted $15/hour wage laws in recent months, although business owners have begun to push back.

— by Matthew Ozga

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