Hunger Action to Cuomo: Raise the Wage
August 29th, 2012
Mark Dunlea of Hunger Action wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take executive action to increase the state’s minimum wage. Dunlea thinks Labor Day would be a perfect time for Cuomo to convene a special board that could recommend an increase in the minimum wage that the governor would implement.
State Labor Law Sec. 653 gives the governor the ability to raise the minimum wage without legislative approval if the labor commissioner recommends it.
“It is time for Gov. Cuomo to listen to New York voters who overwhelmingly believe low-income workers deserve a pay raise,” Dunlea said in a statement. “Low wage workers may not contribute to the governor’s various political committees like the casinos do but they contribute to the state’s economy. Rather than yet another photo op on Labor Day, the governor and legislators should be in Albany taking concrete action to help workers.”
Dunlea also wants Cuomo to convene a special session of the Legislature to address various workers issues, including raising unemployment benefits and addressing farm workers rights legislation.
The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Here is Hunger Action’s full news release:
Cuomo Should Use Labor Day to Raise Minimum Wage
(Albany, NY) Hunger Action Network of NYS called today for Governor Cuomo to raise the state minimum wage by using Labor Day to convene a minimum wage board.
State Labor Law Sec. 653 gives the Governor the power to raise the minimum wage without the need for legislative approval if the Labor Commissioner – in reality, the Governor – determines that the minimum wage is inadequate to support workers.
Hunger Action also said that Cuomo should convene a Labor Day extraordinary session of the State legislature to deal with a host of outstanding issues critical to NY workers, including raising unemployment benefits and strengthening Farmworker rights.
“It is time for Governor Cuomo to listen to New York voters who overwhelmingly believe low-income workers deserve a pay raise. Low wage workers may not contribute to the Governor’s various political committees like the casinos do but they contribute to the state’s economy. Rather than yet another photo op on Labor Day, the Governor and legislators should be in Albany taking concrete action to help workers,” noted Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of Hunger Action Network of NYS.
Hunger Action Network of NYS has called the Governor’s office and Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera weekly since the legislature adjourned to discuss administratively raising the minimum wage but have received no response. Hunger Action filed a petition under Sec. 653 of the Labor Law to begin the process of convening the minimum wage board but so far the Labor Department has failed to rule on whether or not the minimum wage is adequate. The Cuomo administration has acknowledged to Hunger Action that it does have the power to raise the minimum wage unilaterally.
Hunger Action has told the Governor and Rivera that it is willing to circulate a new petition, which must be signed by 50 individuals impacted by the minimum wage, if they are unwilling to act on the petition initially filed during the Paterson administration. Until recently, Paterson’s labor commissioner Colleen Crawford had continued under Cuomo.
Once the minimum wage is determined to be inadequate, the administration appoints a minimum wage board of labor, business and civic representatives to recommend within 45 days what the minimum wage should be increased to. The Labor Commissioner can then order a hike.
There has been speculation that the legislature would raise the minimum wage in a lame duck session after the November elections as part of a deal to raise state legislators and Commissioners salaries (an issue of concern to Cuomo). However, the escalating scandals involving the indictment of legislators for corruptions, patronage jobs and sexual harassment – and overwhelming public opposition – has made a legislative pay raise much less likely.
“The minimum wage in NY isn’t even a poverty wage. The majority of New Yorkers who support a minimum wage hike want it to be raised at least $10 an hour so workers don’t have to flood food pantries looking for food to feed their families. It is time for Governor Cuomo to step up to the bat for low-income workers,” added Dunlea.By David King on August 29, 2012, 11:47 am
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