The Fair Wage Act would apply to businesses who have annual gross revenues of at least $50 million a year, and chain stores that have more than 11 locations throughout the nation.
“Workers deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron, one of the sponsors of the bill. “New York’s minimum wage does not go far enough to keep families out of poverty. Large chains, from McDonalds to 7-Eleven, have higher profits and lower costs, yet they still pay their workers poverty wages.”
With a current minimum wage set in New York at $7.25 an hour, the state plans to increase it to $9 over the next three years. Legislators noted a National Employment Law Project report that acknowledged other localities across the country have also passed higher minimum wage laws, including San Francisco, San Jose, Washington, D.C. and Montgomery and Prince Georges counties in Maryland.
“Hardworking New Yorkers should no longer have to live in poverty,” Rozic said. “Taking a stand for the working and middle-class families of New York and ensuring that workers have a decent living wage won't just better our economy, it's the right thing to do.”
Austin Shafran, state legislative director for the Working Families Party, along with members of Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change, rallied with Squadron and Rozic on the steps of City Hall last week to support the proposal for higher wages.
“It used to be that workers making minimum wage would have enough to live above the poverty line,” Shafran said. “Now, low-wage workers fall far below while big corporations like McDonalds and Walmart, who refuse to pay their workers a living wage, reap enormous profits. It’s time to force these companies to take some responsibility and raise wages so our workers won't be forced to live in poverty.”