Minimum Wage Increase for Thousands of Workers

Fast food workers have been campaigning throughout the nation for wage increases. Legislation is being considered in several cities and states while Congressional action on the federal minimum wage remains stuck in debate.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Tuesday expanding the reach of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, raising salaries from $11.90 to $13.13 per hour for previously exempt workers. The raise on a typical 8-hour shift would give New Yorkers over $200 more a month.

Those workers who receive benefits such as health insurance will see their wages go up from $10.30 to $11.50 an hour.

Estimates are that 18,000 workers will benefit from the Living Wage order when the measure is applied to 70 percent of firms supported by City agencies, according to the Mayor’s office.The original law covered about 1,200 jobs.

“This Executive Order corrects the glaring omission in the City’s living wage ordinance that left out commercial tenants on projects the City subsidizes … Since the recession began in 2008, the inflation-adjusted wages of the typical low-wage NYC worker have dropped by nearly 9 percent, while the earnings of a typical high-wage worker rose by 6 percent,” said James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute.

The next step will be for Albany to raise the state minimum wage and give New York City the authority to set its own minimum wage standard. Approximately 4,100 jobs covered under the new standards would be held by employees in retail and fast-food businesses that traditionally pay close to minimum wage. The wages will also be matched to changes in the Consumer Price Index, and estimates are by 2019 the minimum wage could be $15.00 an hour. The measure will be enforced by the Department of Consumer Affairs.