April 4, 2016
By Bill Lipton, Working Families Party
New York, NY – Just a few years after fast food workers first took to the streets in New York demanding $15 and a union, and after thousands of Working Families activists like you signed petitions, contacted your legislators, and added your voices to the call for economic justice, $15 and paid family leave will soon be signed into law.
On the minimum wage, the Governor and legislative leaders agreed to a budget deal that will raise the wage to $15 by the end of 2018 in NYC for businesses with 10 or more employees (and for smaller businesses by 2019), to $15 by 2021 in Westchester and Long Island, and to $12.50 by 2020 in other areas of the state, after which the wage is set to rise to $15 through indexing.
Lawmakers also agreed to make New York a national leader on paid family leave, with a policy that will pay up to two-thirds of employees' wages for up to 12 weeks. Thanks to this legislation, millions of New Yorkers will soon be able to care for a newborn, elderly parent, or family member in their time of need.
While these victories will make a difference in the lives of millions, the deal is not all we hoped for. Throughout this process, State Senate Republicans reprised their role as the main obstacle to progress. Because of that opposition, the timeline for reaching $15 in parts of the state leaves many New Yorkers earning poverty wages for too long.
From the WFP's founding almost two decades ago, ensuring that all work has dignity and pays a fair wage has been central to our mission. Today, as we celebrate these important steps forward on the minimum wage and paid family leave, we also recommit ourselves to continuing that fight on behalf of working families across our state.