Hunger Action Network: Cuomo Has Power to Raise Minimum Wage Under Labor Law

The Hunger Action Network of New York State, has made a public statement disagreeing with the assertion of Governor Cuomo’s office that state Labor Law does not give them broad powers to raise the minimum wage. In the past, Cuomo’s office has stated they are limited to raising the wage administratively only in a few industries.

“When the state minimum law was amended by Governor Rockefeller in 1960, it for the first time established an across the board minimum wage rather than setting it on a case by case basis for individual industries. However, the existing rule giving the Governor the power to also raise it administratively was continued. There is explicit statutory authority for the Governor to take action when the minimum wage is too low to maintain workers. But if Governor Andrew Cuomo disagrees with prior Governors such as Mario Cuomo, George Pataki and David Paterson, he should ask Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for an advisory opinion,” stated Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network.

“While one could argue both sides of this issue, there is clearly more than enough statutory language to the Governor to order an across the board increase in the minimum wage under section 653. This would especially be true if we have a progressive Governor who wants to protect low-income workers,” added Dunlea.

Dunlea added that the best solution would be for the Governor to forge an agreement with lawmakers, and announce he is prepared to act administratively if needed.



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