Dozens of workers joined with advocates, labor leaders and elected officials Friday to support a bill that would let the city set its own minimum wage.
The new bill, which is being called "Raise Up NY" by its supporters, would allow the city to set a higher minimum wage without requiring the whole state do the same.
New York currently has a statewide minimum of $8.
Supporters say it's necessary because the cost of living is so much higher in the city than other parts of the state.
"The City Council must have the ability to raise the minimum wage to reflect the reality," said Public Advocate Letitia James.
James: Should a legislature in Oswego tell us how to live?
James: Should a legislature in Onondaga tell us what our minimum wage should be?
"I can't even afford like to pay rent, to take care of myself, to pay to buy MetroCards to go and come back from work," said one worker.
"Just to do the maths, $8 per hour for a family, I've got three kids, I'm a 47-year-old man, and just do that maths you'll see," said another. "It's really difficult."
Backers in the state Senate say that the legislation is one of their priorities for the current session.