Following the lead of Governor Cuomo, and echoing a growing national trend, New York City Mayor de Blasio has announced his promise to see to it that by the end of 2018, all New York City workers are earning at least $15 per hour. There are approximately 300,000 New York City workers, most of whom, according to the New York Times, already earn at least that much. The mayor’s plan, however, will bring nearly 50,000 additional city workers up to the $15 per hour mark.
Of the 50,000 workers who will benefit from de Blasio’s announcement, nearly 20,000 of them are union members and about 30,000 are not. Regardless, most of them currently make little more than $11 per hour. These workers include day care providers, crossing guards, custodians, and many other people who provide needed and valuable services. This new plan provides a raise to many employees who need one; primarily low-wage union workers and non-profit employees under contract with the city.
Unlike Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio does not possess unilateral power to raise city employees’ wages. To enact his plan, “Mr. de Blasio has directed his team to amend existing contracts with the relevant municipal unions, and to rewrite contracts with the affected nonprofit groups.”
De Blasio’s announcement comes during the same week that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the minimum wage for state university workers will be raised in increments to $15. Last year Cuomo set a gradual phase in toward a $15 minimum wage for all public employees and fast food workers. While a statewide increase for all workers has yet to be enacted, these steps are meaningful to the politicians working to improve the quality of life for some constituents. As the Mayor stated:
“We know that nothing will do more to lift up working families and move our economy forward than raising wages — and the city is leading by example by doing just that for 50,000 New Yorkers.”
There is opposition to the increase in minimum wage at both the state and city level. Many business owners feel that they will be unable to sustain the increase in payroll and benefits that will result from the new mandates. Others claim they may be reluctant to hire new employees and may even have to shrink their workforces. After amending their contracts, New York City employers will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the wage changes. Time will tell how the economy will react to the increases and whether they will help or hurt in the long run.
The New York City minimum wage rules can be confusing, and you may wonder if you are being paid properly by your employer. If you have a minimum wage question and would like some guidance, please feel free to contact our office. The New York City wage and hour attorneys at Leeds Brown Law P.C. have been successfully protecting employees’ rights for decades. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys can help if you are not receiving the appropriate wages or overtime pay you deserve.