Tags: minimum | wage | Obama | Seattle

New York Minimum Wage Increase Uncertain as Session Nears End

Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 12:15 PM

Advocates of a higher minimum wage, energized by victories in cities and states across the country this year, are bracing for a last-minute push on Thursday in New York, where lawmakers could end the legislative season without a vote on the issue.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has backed the proposed increase to $8.50 from the current $7.25 an hour, but the bill has met heavy resistance in the state Senate, where Republicans have a power sharing agreement with a breakaway group of Democrats.

Hundreds of fast-food restaurant workers descended on the state capital of Albany this week to lobby for the increase, but Republicans have said the change would hamper job growth.

The session officially ends on Thursday, but lawmakers can extend it.

A higher minimum wage has been a Democratic priority this year. President Barack Obama has pushed Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from its current $7.25, though so far without success.

Earlier this month, the Seattle city council approved a sharp increase in the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next seven years, marking the first time a major U.S. city has committed to such a high base level of pay.

An increase has also been under consideration in 34 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. So far, eight states, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, have enacted minimum wage increases, the group said.

On Wednesday, state legislatures in Massachusetts and Rhode Island gave initial approval to wage increases, and the governors of both states have expressed support.

In Illinois, voters will consider an advisory ballot initiative in November over whether to boost the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour from the current rate of $8.25.

As of this month, 22 states had a minimum wage that exceeded the federal level of $7.25, while 19 states set their minimum wages at that same level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Five states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, do not have a minimum wage law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Advocates of a higher minimum wage, energized by victories in cities and states across the country this year, are bracing for a last-minute push on Thursday in New York, where lawmakers could end the legislative season without a vote on the issue.
minimum, wage, Obama, Seattle
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2014-15-19
Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 12:15 PM
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