Fast food workers could be on track for a pay rise, if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets his way.
At a rally with union supporters in Union Square on Thursday, Cuomo called for the state labor commissioner to investigate whether fast food workers’ wages are really enough to live off.
“It’s polarizing society. It’s corporate greed at its worst. It’s a minimum wage at its worst. It has to stop and it has to stop right here,” he said.
The minimum wage in New York is set to go from $8.75 to $9 per hour by the end of the year. But the governor has called for an increase in wages to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 in other parts of the state – the same increase he proposed in his most recent state budget, before it was rejected by the legislature.
He said the wages of fast food company C.E.O.s in particular have quadrupled while minimum wage salaries have barely increased at all.
“There is no more obvious and obnoxious display of this injustice than in the fast food industry,” he said.
In an op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday, he said on average fast food C.E.O.s made around $23.8 million, while their entry-level workers make around $16,920 per year.
At the rally, Cuomo said there is a misconception that fast food workers are kids with part time jobs.
“Fast food workers are not kids, over 70% of them are primary wage earners for their families,” he said.
He said the inadequate wages lead fast food workers to rely on public welfare, putting greater strain on the state.
“I don’t want the taxpayers of New York to subsidise the profits of McDonalds any more,” he said.
The state wage board has the power to increase minimum wage for fast food workers in New York City and across the state. The state Assembly recently passed a bill that would set the minimum wage for all workers at $15, but the bill is likely to have a hard time passing the Senate.