Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced plans to set the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all state workers. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Thousands of state workers will see their pay checks swell after Governor Andrew Cuomo boosts their hourly pay to $15 an hour.
"New York is not just another state, my friends. New York is the progressive capital of the nation," Cuomo said. "We fight for fairness. We fight for justice. We act first. We lead by example."
The governor announced the wage hike at a labor rally in lower Manhattan. His executive action would make New York the first state to set a minimum wage this high for so many workers.
"And I believe you are going to see other states follow New York," Cuomo said.
The pay hike wage would happen gradually. State employees who work in New York City would earn $15 an hour by the end of 2018. State employees outside the city would have to wait until the end of 2021.
The announcement immediately raised the question of whether Mayor de Blasio would raise wages for city workers. In a telephone interview with NY1, he would not commit to matching the governor's plan.
"I am proud to say that our city workers are already on a pace that is well ahead of the state minimum wage as it is and would be very consistent with what the governor put forward," de Blasio said. "Our workers are almost all at a minimum of $12 an hour now, and that is going to keep going up over the next few years."
City Comptroller Scott Stringer says the mayor needs to follow the governor's lead.
"The mayor must follow suit immediately," Stringer said. "The momentum is critical to the national movement of raising the wage to $15 an hour. So this city can be a true aspirational city for middle-class people. Look, this is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it."
In other political news, the presidential forum that the mayor planned to host in Iowa next month has been canceled. No candidates had said publicly that they would attend. It's a blow to the mayor, who was trying to play a significant role in the race for the White House.