A new bill being introduced in Albany would make large companies pay workers at least $15 an hour.
The legislators behind the Fair Wage Act made their case outside City Hall on Wednesday.
They say the law would apply to companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue and more than 11 national chains.
It would require those companies to pay their employees more per hour than the state's minimum wage demands.
"These aren't those small businesses that are just barely getting by. And yet they're paying their workers in a way that doesn't even give them a way to get by and that's not right," said State Senator Daniel Squadron.
"Insuring living wages for the city's workers is critical for fighting poverty and rebuilding New York's middle class," said State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.
The legislation would also apply to transportation-related industries like those that employ workers at the city's airports.
Supporters say similar laws have been enacted in other big cities.