Governor Cuomo, Local Business Leaders & Chambers of Commerce Urge New York State Legislature to Enact First-in-the-Nation $15 Minimum Wage
Proposal Would Benefit More than 2.3 Million New Yorkers; Boost Direct Spending Power by $15.7 Billion
Join the Fight for Fair Pay – Visit www.ny.gov/Fightfor15 to Learn More
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than 85 New York State businesses have endorsed his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15. Under the Governor’s plan, New York State would adopt a phased-in $15 minimum wage in New York City by 2018 and 2021 in the rest of the state. The companies, comprised of both big and small businesses from the North Country to New York City, hailed the plan as an economic driver that would increase the standard of living for workers as well as stimulate demand for goods and services.
"Raising the minimum wage will help millions of New Yorkers and create stronger communities statewide," Governor Cuomo said. "Our $15 proposal helps restore dignity to hardworking people who have been left behind in this economy, and it will create a better environment for businesses overall. We believe in this state that a fair day's work should earn a fair day's pay, and we're going to lead the nation by enacting a $15 minimum wage this year."
CEO of Amalgamated Bank Keith Mestrich said, “Every business in New York State has a stake in seeing our economy grow, and raising the minimum wage is one of the best ways to do just that. Amalgamated Bank was proud to raise its own minimum wage to $15 per hour in August of last year. Doing so told our employees that we value them, showed our customers that we are committed to empowering people, and put real money into the local economies in which we operate. The New York State legislature should pass Governor Cuomo’s precedent-setting proposal and raise the wage for all New York workers. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s just good business.”
Cynthia D. DiBartolo, Chairperson, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, said, “Raising the minimum wage boosts the wages of affected workers and the economy benefits from the increased spending. This is exactly the catalyst that will keep businesses in this great state growing, reduce inequity, and empower consumers with a larger wallet to spend more money in their community. An increased minimum wage is the right move for businesses and workers alike.”
Jeff Furman, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and resident of Ithaca, said, “Fair pay is a crucial part of the recipe for success at Ben & Jerry’s. We’ve paid a living wage for more than 20 years, sparing our employees the struggle of trying to make it on wages that don’t even cover basic expenses. In return, our company is spared the cost of high employee turnover. Instead, our bottom line is boosted by good company morale, greater worker retention and commitment, and more satisfied customers.”
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, said, “When a person working 40 hours a week can’t cover the basic costs of living, there’s something deeply wrong with our economic system. Paying workers fairly isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s what makes our communities and businesses thrive.”
Jon Cooper, President and Co-Owner, Spectronics Corporation in Westbury, the world’s leading manufacturer of ultraviolet equipment and fluorescent materials, said, “Raising the minimum wage encourages better business practices. An inadequate minimum wage fits the old adage, ‘Penny wise and pound foolish.’ Employers who invest in their workforce have employees who are more invested in the company and in satisfying its customers. A higher minimum wage will result in increased employee retention, lower hiring and training costs, fewer mistakes that cost time and money, and increased productivity.”
Jan Rhodes Norman, Owner of Silk Oak and Ithacamade, said, “Many of the big chains count on responsible employers and taxpayers to subsidize them by providing food stamps and other public assistance to their workers who can’t make ends meet on poverty wages. Raising the minimum wage to a more realistic level helps level the playing field for Main Street businesses like mine who believe in treating our employees fairly and investing in the communities in which we live, work, and do business.”
David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council and lifetime New Yorker, said, “Raising the minimum wage addresses the largest problem business leaders see with today’s economy: weak consumer demand. We support raising New York’s minimum wage to $15 to strengthen our wage base, businesses, and economy for sustainable job creation.”
Raising the minimum wage will provide vitally important benefits to the state’s economy, ensuring opportunity for millions of New Yorkers and creating jobs. Higher wages for low-income workers will generate new economic growth and activity, while increasing spending power and reinvesting more money back into the local economy.
A total of 88 regionally diverse businesses in New York State support increasing the minimum wage to $15. Businesses backing the Governor’s plan include:
African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland Counties
All Bright Electric
American Sustainable Business Council
Jeff Furman, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Black River Adventures
Bombay Sandwich Company
Bruce Yablon Construction
Bryant Rabbino, LLP
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage
Business for Your Business, LLC
Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC
Calderon Architects and Design Studio
Concept Systems Inc.
Conservation Connects, LLC
D Alexander Ross Real Estate Capital Partners LLC
Deborah Bradley Construction Management Services
Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk
First Capital Payments
Fuller & D'Angelo
Fuzzy Annie Cleaning Services, LLC
Grady's Cold Brew
Hempstead Coordinating Council of Civic Associations
Ibero American Investors Corp.
M&K Home Enterprises
Malcom Patrick Corporation
MFR Securities, Inc.
Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market
New York City Black Chamber of Commerce Inc.
New York Women's Chamber of Commerce
Nicholville Telephone Company/Slic Network Solutions
Nick Hanauer, Venture Capitalist
Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY
On Belay Business Advisors
PathStone Corp, Inc.
Port Morris Distillery
Property Maintenance Services
Rochester Solar Power Organization Team
Ronnette Riley Architects
RV Singh, Inc.
Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg Engineers, PLLC
Silk Oak & Ithacamade
Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corporation
Sygma Technology Solutions
Taylor Biomass Energy LLC
The Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc
The Pear Tree
Thuro Metal Products
Tigress Financial Partners, LLC
Top Hat Image Wear
Topeka Capital Markets
Transit Construction Corp.
United NJ Sandy Hook Pilots Association
UTC Associates, Inc.
Walters Group Consulting
Watts Architecture & Engineering
A substantial body of research shows that raising the minimum wage has no discernable negative impact on employment. In fact, studies show higher wages lead to greater productivity and increased worker retention – saving employers recruitment and training costs. Moreover, a review of several states that have increased their minimum wage have seen no indication of economic downturn connected to that increase.
In fact, higher wages significantly benefit low-income and minority communities. Research shows that every dollar increase in the minimum wage results in $2,800 in new spending by household therefore raising incomes and boosting direct spending power.
Since 1991, New York State has increased its minimum wage eight times, and six of those times, data shows an uptick in employment following the wage increase. An analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs and CEPR found that the thirteen states – including New York – that increased their state minimum wage in 2014 had higher rates of employment growth than the national average.
What a $15 minimum wage means for New York State:
Raising the minimum wage would directly benefit 2.3 million New Yorkers or about a quarter of the state’s total workforce. Across New York, 50 percent of workers earning $15 per hour or less are 35 or older. Outside of New York City, 70 percent of these workers are over the age of 25. In New York City, 80 percent of these minimum wage workers are over age 25, and more than half are 35 or older.
Today, the current minimum wage pays roughly $18,720 per year. For a single mother with two children, that’s below the official poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would increase workers’ incomes by nearly $13,000 per year – enough for a single earner to support a family of five above the poverty line.
The New York State Department of Labor projects that the proposed increase in the minimum wage outside New York City will generate $9.2 billion annually in increased wages, with $6.5 billion annually in increased wages in New York City. A statewide breakdown of the data shows more than 15.7 billion in direct economic gains as a result of raising the minimum wage to $15.
Total Earning Current Minimum Wage of $9.00
Total Earning Minimum Wage of $15.00
Dollars Reinvested into the Regional Economy
New York City
Enabling Employers to Plan
The economic benefits of increasing the minimum wage outweigh the costs. But to provide businesses with the opportunity to plan, and in order to be sensitive to the relative abilities of different regional economies to absorb the change, the proposal phases-in the increase in New York’s minimum wage in New York City and more gradually in the rest of the state, on the following schedule:
New York City
Statewide (excluding NYC)
Leading by Example
In December 2015, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State would lead by example by raising the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour. Several cities have announced they are joining the Governor in enacting a $15 public sector minimum wage, including the City of Buffalo and the City of Rochester.
Governor Cuomo has also lead the fight for fair pay by raising the minimum wage for tipped workers and increased the minimum wage to $15 for all fast food workers. These employees will see their wages increase to $9.75 this year, and ultimately reach $15 hour on December 31, 2018 in New York City, and July 1, 2021 statewide.
In March 2013, the Governor set in motion a statewide minimum wage increase that raised wages to $9 per hour.
Urszula Lulewicz, president, TerraNut, said, “I support gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour because it would level the playing field by making a higher minimum wage universal. Plus, it will increase employee productivity, boost employee morale and ultimately create a stronger local business environment. As a small business owner, I believe that raising the wage is simply good business sense.”
Phil Andrew, president, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, said, “The minimum wage is important to members of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce. With a strong minimum wage of $15.00, not only do workers benefit but so will our members, whose bottom lines will improve along with the economies of Long Island and NYC region, where our members are based. Employees are not only workers; they are also consumers. But workers can only spend as much as they earn. When wages are increased – such as what Gov. Cuomo is proposing – workers have more money in their pockets to pay the rent, buy the basics from local businesses, and even indulge their families with a little treat here and there. Workers’ bigger paychecks, therefore, mean more business and higher profits for our members.”
Nick Hanauer, Co-Founder of Second Avenue Partners, said, “The fundamental law of capitalism is: when workers have more money, businesses have more customers, and need to hire more workers. In places where wages are high, business is good—particularly for restaurants. So, raising wages for workers won’t reduce employment or harm business. The people saying it will are simply trying to scare the public and intimidate their workers. In fact, paying decent wages will be great for workers, great for business and great for New York’s taxpayers too. And it may finally give you New Yorkers a shot at having a restaurant industry as robust as the one we enjoy in the hinterlands like Seattle and San Francisco.”
Sergio Esteban, Chairman & CEO, LaBella Associates, said, “We cannot rightfully allow some to succeed and others to fall into the depths of poverty simply because they are not able to obtain a fair and decent wage. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 to give all workers a fair shot at the American Dream. By boosting wages we can increase family incomes and drive consumer spending. I am proud to stand with Governor Cuomo in that fight and commend him for continuing to lead the nation in promoting fairness and opportunity for all.”
Stuart J. Mitchell, President and CEO, PathStone Corporation said, “I support raising the minimum wage not only because it’s the right to do, but because it’s good for New York’s business climate. By raising the minimum wage we can lift millions of families out of poverty, while creating a more efficient, productive workforce. It’s past time we pay workers the decent, honest wage they deserve. I commend Governor Cuomo for leading the fight for $15 and strongly urge the state legislature to get on board and support this smart, commonsense proposal.”
Ajax Greene, CEO and Founder, On Belay Business Advisors Inc. in Gardiner, said, “From retail to manufacturing, from the food industry to e-commerce, we’ve spent decades helping businesses improve and grow. We think it vital that everyone who works is compensated fairly. Raising the New York State minimum wage to $15 is a win-win-win for employees, business and our economy.”
Dal LaMagna, CEO of IceStone USA in Brooklyn, said, “Raising the minimum wage will make our economy better. Workers making low wages are the people most likely to spend their additional income. That’s an increase in consumer spending at businesses throughout New York. Increasing New York’s minimum wage to $15 will be a needed boost to businesses and our state.”
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