Workers celebrate minimum wage increase, Cuomo assures compliance
Starting Jan. 1, all workers who make under $11 an hour in New York City began to earn a higher wage as part of the Fight for $15 victory earlier this year. The wage increase will affect hundreds of thousands of workers, tens of thousands being health care workers — many of whom provide care for the elderly.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has advised workers to call a new hotline set up by the state labor department if employers do not comply with New York’s new minimum-wage rates. The state has launched 1-888-4-NYSDOL to assist with any issues.
“This increase marks the first step toward New York state having a livable minimum wage,” said 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham. “Some may believe that this raise doesn’t amount to much, but in fact for many of our members, this increase spells the difference between paying their rent and putting food on the table. Thanks to the leadership by Gov. Cuomo, workers in New York are on the road to making a living wage.”
In New York City, the minimum wage was set to climb to either $11 an hour or $10.50 an hour for employers with less than 10 workers. The wage was set to rise to $10 an hour for workers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. For the rest of the state, the wage will now be set at $9.70.
“I feel at ease. We’ve been struggling for a long time. This raise will make things better. After paying bills, I might buy some clothes. The Fight for $15 was worth it because it made homecare workers visible,” said Anna Couch, a homecare worker on Staten Island.
“I will be 65 next month, but I can’t afford to retire. The extra money in my pay check will help a little,” said Prabhouti Khusial, a homecare worker in Far Rockaway.
Reports have shown that a higher minimum wage is good for the economy as it puts more money in the pockets of consumers to boost their local communities, reports 1199SEIU.
Cuomo and the state Legislature agreed in March to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.
Information from the Associated Press and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East was used in this report.
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