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Cuomo: Minimum wage at state universities to rise to $15

January 4, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state will raise the minimum wage for state university workers to $15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, part of his broader effort to expand that minimum to all workers in the state.

The increase at the State University of New York system will affect 28,000 employees when fully phased in during 2021. Cuomo announced the raise at a rally in Manhattan that featured organized labor leaders and actor Steve Buscemi.

The Democratic governor used his executive power last year to approve phased-in $15 minimums for workers at fast-food chain restaurants, as well as state employees.

“We are chipping away at it,” Cuomo said Monday about the latest increase. “We’re making a little progress, a little progress, a little progress.”

The SUNY Board of Trustees is set to formally approve the increase later this month. The higher labor costs will cost the system an estimated $28 million when fully implemented.

“The State University of New York is proud to ensure that anyone working on a state-operated SUNY campus continues to be paid at least minimum wage, including all full-time staff as well as students participating in work study programs,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We look forward to joining Gov. Cuomo in setting a model for state entities and public university systems across the country.”

Cuomo hopes to pass a $15 minimum wage increase for all workers in the state this year. Like the other increases, the raise would be done in stages, with workers in New York City seeing a $15 minimum in 2018 and those elsewhere getting it in 2021.

The state’s base minimum wage rose from $8.75 to $9 on Thursday, the last of three increases approved by lawmakers and Cuomo in 2013.

State lawmakers will debate Cuomo’s proposed $15 increase during the 2016 session, which starts Wednesday in Albany.

Critics say the additional labor costs will lead to reduced employment, higher prices and struggling businesses.

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