Some call for pause to Upstate NY minimum wage increase

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On December 31, the minimum wage in Upstate New York will go from $11.80 to $12.50 per hour. 

State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said of the increase, “Before this crisis, we achieved record low unemployment rates while increasing the minimum wage – improving the lives of thousands of New Yorkers – and we will rebuild our economy while continuing to lead the nation in the fight for economic justice. This investment in our workers once again proves that in New York we believe a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

But, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt says the increase will result in more businesses closing, businesses hiring less workers, or having to get rid of some workers. He’s asking for it to be paused. 

“There’s no way that any reasonable person can look at the economy and look at the conditions for our small businesses and say things are better than they were a year ago. Or that they can say things are going to be better next month or two months from now,” Ortt said.

Meanwhile, others say the minimum wage should be expanded to cover tipped restaurant workers.

report from the organization One Fair Wage found that 97 percent of Upstate New York workers surveyed reported a decline in tips since the start of the pandemic. 

“We surveyed thousands of workers and found that they went back to incredibly high health risks being asked to serve as public health marshals enforcing social distancing and mask rules on customers for less money and tips,” said One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman

The latest data from the State Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate for November was 8.4 percent. 

The minimum wage in New York City is already $15 per hour.

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