Date
19 October 2017
New York fast food workers are celebrating a US$15 minimum hourly wage, years after launching a protest movement to demand higher pay. Photo: USA Today
New York fast food workers are celebrating a US$15 minimum hourly wage, years after launching a protest movement to demand higher pay. Photo: USA Today

NY fast food workers win 70% minimum wage bump

It was going to come around sooner or later.

After a labor protest led to higher wages across the US, it’s paying off for the New York fast food workers who started it.

On Wednesday, a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended a US$15 hourly minimum wage for employees of fast food chain restaurants throughout the state by 2018.

The New York Times is reporting that wages will be raised faster in New York City than in the rest of the state to account for the higher cost of living there.

It’s a triumph for advocates who have rallied burger-flippers and fry cooks to demand pay that covers their basic needs.

They argued that taxpayers are subsidizing the workers of some multinational corporations such as McDonald’s that are not paying enough to keep their workers from relying on food stamps and other welfare benefits.

The US$15 wage is up more than 70 percent from New York’s current minimum wage of US$8.75 an hour.

Advocates for low-wage workers said the mandate will quickly spur pay raises for employees in other industries across the state.

Cuomo predicted that other states will follow his lead.

“When New York acts, the rest of the states follow,” said Cuomo, citing the state’s passage of the law making same-sex marriage legal.

“We’ve always been different, always been first, always been the most progressive.”

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