New York lawmakers and advocates say minimum wage hike is needed

Nick Reisman

September 12, 2022

Originally published in NY State of Politics on September 12, 2022.

State lawmakers and advocates who support an increase in New York's minimum wage are making a renewed push for the measure amid rising costs, a tight labor market and a recognition of labor's contributions as the summer ends. 

The Raise Up NY Coalition at the New York City Labor Day Parade this weekend sought to revive the successful campaign of only a few years ago to increase the state's minimum wage to $15. Supporters of a higher wage point to the higher cost of living squeezing workers out of the gains made from that effort. 

“The minimum wage is, at its very core, meant to cover the essentials. Even before this latest round of inflation hit, the purchasing power of working class New Yorkers has deteriorated," said state Sen. Jessica Ramos. "Now, almost ten years since the Fight for $15, we need to reignite this coalition of workers, unions, and business owners who know that we all do better when we all do better. Raising the wage is popular, it’s necessary, and there’s no time like Labor Day to commit to building an economy that works for us all."

Business organizations are likely to oppose any upward change in the state's minimum wage, pointing to the higher cost of doing business in New York and additional price pressures created by inflation. But wage workers in recent years have also made in-roads. Workers at Starbucks and Amazon have successfully made union drives, and some employers have voluntarily lifted their hourly minimum pay in response to a worker shortage. 

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