NEW YORK — New York’s fast food workers could soon get paid a lot more.
On Wednesday, the wage board is set to vote on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour. The meeting will be held in New York City at 2.30 pm.
New York’s minimum wage for all workers has risen from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour in the last two years. By the end of this year, it will be $9.
If the wage board endorses the $15 minimum wage, fast-food workers will come one step closer to getting up to a 70% increase in their hourly wages. The state’s Labor Commissioner would need to approve the recommendations.
It’s unclear if the hike will go into effect immediately or be phased in. Restaurants are watching closely to see if this will affect only large fast food chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s or will also include the smaller, mom and pop-owned sandwich stores.
Cuomo said in a news conference Sunday that the majority of minimum wage workers were in the fast food industry, but that he hopes to extend the wage increases across the board.
“This is only the first step because we need to raise the minimum wage,” he said.
The wage board was created by the Labor Commissioner at Cuomo’s request.
It was a way for the governor to push forth a wage increase in a single industry by circumventing the New York state legislature. Earlier in the year, the legislature has already rejected Cuomo’s proposal to increase New York City’s overall minimum wage to $11.50 and $10.50 for elsewhere in the state.
On Cuomo’s request, the three-person wage board was created in May by the state Labor Commissioner to offer recommendations on fast food worker pay. The wage board only has the power to recommend wages for a particular industry or job. Any broad increase in wages have to be approved by the legislature.
The state Labor Commissioner did not respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment.
The fight to increase pay for low-wage workers has been going on for almost three years. Fast food workers have been in the forefront of a broad national movement, joining protests and walking off their job to demand better pay.
Many states and cities have passed legislation to increase pay in the last couple of years.
Los Angeles and Seattle are the only two cities that have passed laws that increase minimum wage for all workers to $15.