NEW YORK -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has approved plans to raise the minimum wage of fast-food employees to $15, a figure that the Democratic governor says should be the minimum wage for all workers.
Cuomo made the comments at a rally with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, the same day Cuomo's labor commissioner approved the fast-food wage hike. The increase was recommended by a state Wage Board and does not need legislative approval.
It will be phased in over three years in New York City and over six years elsewhere in the state. It will apply to some 200,000 workers at large chain restaurants.
Fast-food workers say the current $8.75 wage forces many into poverty.
A group of restaurant owners is considering a legal challenge to the increase.
Cuomo and Biden announced a push to make New York the first state in the nation to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage.
"If you work full time, you shouldn't have to live in poverty - plain and simple," Cuomo said. "Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will add fairness to our economy and bring dignity and respect to 2.2 million people, many of whom have been forced to live in poverty for too long. My father's words about helping those left behind in the shining city are not just a dream - they were true when he spoke them, and they still ring true today. We will overcome the skeptics and demonstrate to the American people that we can make this a better place because New York is the state of possibility. We can restore hope and opportunity, and we will do it with a $15 minimum wage that ensures economic justice for all."
Cuomo and Biden were joined by more than 1,200 workers, community members and advocates at the Javits Center in New York City to celebrate the success of the fast food wage board and continue that momentum. In the coming months, the Cuomo's administration, with elected officials, business leaders and community members, will bring the push for a $15 minimum wage across the state to build support for a bill to be introduced in the next legislation session.