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Know Your Rights
Source: State of Politics
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Black And Latino Lawmakers Pushing New Minimum Wage Push

A coalition of community organizations [including Make the Road New York] and black and Latino lawmakers on Thursday plan to make a renewed, post-budget session effort to increase the state’s minimum wage.

Lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, will rally at a McDonald’s in midtown Manhattan at 12:30 for the wage hike.

The group behind push is the same organization of fast-food workers that has been supporting an increase in the minimum wage, along with more protections for service workers.

The effort to raise the minimum wage yet again stems from dissatisfaction among liberal lawmakers that the minimum wage legislation approved in 2013 by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not go far enough.

The agreement raised the state minimum from $7.25 — currently the federal minimum wage — to $9 over the next three years.

But some Democratic lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate say the agreement didn’t go far enough and in some cases hurt low-wage workers.

In addition to the wage hike being too small, lawmakers say tax credits designed to encourage the hiring of teens hurts older workers earning the minimum wage. They also point to the exclusion of tipped workers from the minimum wage increase.

An increase on the national level has drawn opposition, but President Obama this year approved an executive order to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10.

Members of the Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Asian & Latino legislative caucus back legislation that would alter the 2013 minimum wage agreement, including ending the tax credits as well as broadening the measure to include tipped workers.

At the same time, a separate bill increase the minimum wage at a faster pace.

Another bill would allow for local governments to set their own minimum wage above the state’s level, currently $8.

Cuomo in a radio interview earlier this year dismissed the idea of local control for a minimum wage.

“If you had local governments setting their own minimum wage you could have a race to the bottom,” Cuomo said.

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