Senator Labor Committee Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

Jack M. Martins

January 7, 2016

     The New York State Senate’s Standing Committee on Labor today held a public hearing to examine the impact of increasing the minimum wage statewide to $15 an hour.

     On September 9, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed increasing the statewide minimum wage for workers in all employment sectors to $15 an hour, phased in over a period of years.  Currently, the state’s minimum wage is $9 an hour, which took effect on December 31, 2015, the final of a three year phased-in minimum wage increase from $7.25 an hour adopted in 2013.

     “Today’s hearing is the first step in getting feedback as to how a $15 an hour minimum wage will impact workers, small businesses, non-profit agencies, and the state as a whole.  The testimony the Committee receives will be very helpful to us as we deal with this issue in the upcoming legislative session.  Thanks to everyone who participated,” said Senator Jack M. Martins, Chairman of the Labor Committee.

     Economists, business groups, labor unions, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders testified at the hearing, expressed their views, and answered questions from the Committee. 

     Those who testified at the hearing include:

  • George Gresham, President, 1199 SEIU;
  • E.J. McMahon, President, Empire Center for Public Policy;
  • Hector Figueroa, President, 32BJ SEIU;
  • Kenneth Pokalsky, Vice-President of Government Affairs, Business Council of New York State;
  • Dr. Linda Barrington, Executive Director for the Institute for Compensation Studies, ILR School at Cornell University;
  • Ted Potrikus, President and CEO, Retail Council of New York State;
  • Mike Durant, New York State Director, National Federation of Independent Business;
  • Paul Sonn, General Counsel and Program Director, National Employment Law Project;
  • James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute;
  • Michael Seereiter, President/CEO, New York State Rehabilitation Association;
  • Ann Hardiman, Executive Director, New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies.