Minimum Wage

Restaurant Workers Will Get a Big Boost As New York Approves $15 Minimum Wage

Cuomo announcing his support for a $15 minimum wage last September.
Cuomo announcing his support for a $15 minimum wage last September. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It’s another victory in the fight for $15. New York will become the second state to raise its minimum wage to $15, courtesy of a budget agreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators. The increase will be, like in California, phased in over several years, and it’ll vary by region: While this will happen by 2018 in New York City, it will take six years before Long Island and Westchester hit the mark.

This is certainly a step forward for Cuomo and his colleagues in the labor wars. Last summer, you may remember, the New York wage board recommended a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers, and this goes far beyond that to cover all workers — besides the dwindling number of tipped workers, who recently saw their hourly rate increase $2.50.

Raising the minimum wage this much has been a source of contention between Cuomo and industry groups, and some argue labor pressures are the reason why certain restaurateurs switched to a no-tipping model. But this will certainly help underpaid restaurant workers, like the cooks whose wages have declined more significantly than those of any other professionals.


New York Will Raise Minimum Wage to $15