Statement on Proposed Minimum Wage Deal

Responding to news reports that a minimum wage deal may include a slower phase-in than Governor Cuomo proposed and at a lower rate than $15 upstate, Rev. Emily McNeill of the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition said:

“Whether in Brooklyn or Buffalo, paying workers less than they need to make ends meet is wrong. By 2021, a $15 minimum wage is already too little for a single full-time worker to support herself, let alone a family, in every single region in New York State. To set the minimum wage any lower for Upstate workers is unacceptable.

“Three million New Yorkers currently live in poverty and 8 million are low-income. In cities across Upstate, over half of children are in poverty. This should shake the consciences of our lawmakers and make them champions of any policy that promises to lift up poor and low-income people. A $15 minimum wage statewide would put over $6 billion in the pockets of low-wage workers, improving their lives and stimulating our local economies.

“We call on lawmakers to search their hearts during these next few days, which for many of them are holy days, and to plant themselves firmly on the side of the poor and working people of this state whose very lives depend on their ability to earn a living wage.”