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Big wage increase approved for fast-food workers in New York


New York -- The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a wage increase that will gradually raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers in New York to $15 an hour. And now Cuomo wants the hike to be even broader.

Speaking Thursday at a labor rally in New York City, Cuomo proposed a $15 minimum statewide wage for all industries, with the increase to be enacted over time. It would give the Empire State the highest statewide minimum wage in the country. New York’s minimum wage is now $8.75 an hour.

The move, however, would have to be approved by the New York State Senate, which is currently dominated by Republicans. The Senate previously turned back Cuomo’s proposal for a $10.50 hourly minimum wage.

The fast-food wage hike succeeded because Cuomo was able to circumvent the legislative process. New York State empowers the labor commissioner or a wage board to assess whether pay for a particular job is sufficient. Cuomo convened a wage board to examine whether fast-food chains were paying fair wages. The panel had three members, who were all chosen by Cuomo.

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