More than 2 Dozen Elected Officials and Advocates March to Raise Minimum Wage to $15/Hour in 2015 NYC Central Labor Council Labor Day Parade

Governor Cuomo was today joined by more than two dozen elected officials and advocates to kick off the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice while marching in the 2015 NYC Central Labor Council Labor Day Parade. In the coming months, the Governor’s administration, with elected officials, business leaders and community members, will bring the Campaign across the state to build support for a $15 statewide minimum wage.

“The concept of the minimum wage is that if you work full time, you can live with decency – but that is no longer true,” Governor Cuomo said. “This campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is the single most progressive action we can take to help the families of this state.”

Mario Cuomo was a fighter for workers’ rights before, during and following his three terms as Governor of New York State. He successfully increased the minimum wage twice while in office, amounting to a total increase of 28 percent. He established the Garment Workers Strike Force to protect the rights of workers and eliminate sweatshops once and for all in the state. And he established the nation’s first joint State/union health care committee to contain raising health care costs – an effort that helped workers save thousands of dollars on care. The Mario Cuomo Economic Justice Campaign will continue this legacy of fighting for the most vulnerable by pushing to raise New York’s minimum wage in 2016, with a goal of $15 an hour.

A bill will be introduced in the next legislative session for a statewide $15 minimum wage. More information is available here.

Elected officials joining the Governor in today’s parade included:

  • Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
  • Congressman Charles Rangel
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
  • New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer
  • Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
  • Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
  • Senator Adriano Espaillat
  • Senator Brad Hoylman
  • Senator James Sanders
  • Senator Diane Savino
  • Assemblymember Michael Blake
  • Assemblymember Marcos Crespo
  • Assemblymember Maritza Davila
  • Assemblymember Michael DenDekker
  • Assemblymember Richard Gottfried
  • Assemblymember Guillermo Linares
  • Assemblymember Walter Mosley
  • Assemblymember Francisco Moya
  • Assemblymember N. Nick Perry
  • Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon
  • Assemblymember Aravella Simotas
  • New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin
  • New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene
  • New York City Councilman Ben Kallos
  • New York City Councilman Rory Lancman

Congressman Charles Rangel said: “I am proud to join Governor Cuomo, who has tirelessly stood up for hard-working New Yorkers, becoming the voice for those who need it most. Today marks major step in our march toward economic justice, sending a message to our lawmakers that by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, families throughout this beautiful city and New York State will have greater opportunities to build a stronger future for themselves and our communities.”

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said: “I am proud to have marched with Governor Cuomo and workers from across New York today as we kick off the Mario Cuomo legacy campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. This is an issue of economic justice: the fight for $15 will improve the lives of all workers in our state. In the coming months, we will be putting all hands on deck to make this dream a reality.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: “Governor Cuomo’s call for a statewide $15 minimum wage is a welcome one, and something I fully support. A higher minimum wage will help lift working New Yorkers and their families out of poverty and into the middle class, and I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues at every level of government to make this proposal a reality.”

Senator Adriano Espaillat said: “Too many minimum wage workers are struggling to live day to day – it’s time to make the minimum wage a livable one. Increasing the minimum wage would help lift hard-working men and women across our state out of poverty and allow them to live with the dignity that all New Yorkers deserve. I thank the Governor for his leadership on such a critical issue, and I look forward to continuing to fight for 15 in the upcoming legislative session.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “The current minimum wage has kept too many New Yorkers confined to a system of endless poverty and little to no hope for too long. By pledging to fight for a statewide $15 minimum wage in next year’s legislative session, Governor Cuomo has taken a bold stand to change that system, and I will proudly join him to make this increase a reality. This is something that New York State needs, and together we will make it happen.”

Senator James Sanders said: “Increasing the minimum wage isn’t just a win for those trapped beneath the poverty line – it’s a win for New York’s economy. When workers are paid a fair wage, they are able to turn around and reinvest that money in the economy, helping it grow. Governor Cuomo recognizes this and I look forward to helping ensure the Legislature does too.”

Senator Diane Savino said: “We must do everything we can to combat the crisis of poverty. Too many New Yorkers face this crisis every day because of an inadequate minimum wage, and I am thankful we have a friend in Governor Cuomo who is willing to fight for the change we need. The present wage forces workers into an endless cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck, barely able to afford housing or food without assistance. It’s time that we break that cycle, and I will proudly stand with the Governor to fight for a $15 minimum wage.”

Assemblymember Marcos Crespo said: “I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Governor Andrew Cuomo, labor leaders and elected officials in this Campaign for Economic Justice. With Governor Cuomo as our general, this battle for fairness and a deserved wage of $15 an hour for working men and women throughout New York State will be accomplished. New York must once again stand at the forefront of addressing income fairness for all.”

Assemblymember Michael Blake said: “Being from an 1199-SEIU family, I thank Governor Cuomo for standing up for New Yorkers and their economic justice. We must #fightfor15 because no one should work and be poor or wonder how to eat. We are committed to transforming the South Bronx, and to do that, we must raise the wage and provide economic justice for all.”

Assemblymember Michael DenDekker said: “Today I was proud to be marching with Governor Cuomo in the NYC Labor Day Parade as he announced his commitment to working men and women to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said: “New York’s economy is coming back strong – and it’s time for the hard-working men and women of this state to get a share of its success. New York is on the verge of a new economic justice and I am proud to join Governor Cuomo in this campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15.”

Assemblymember Guillermo Linares said: “I would like to commend the Governor for his leadership standing shoulder to shoulder with the labor movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I applaud the Governor for dedicating this initiative to his father Mario Cuomo whose legacy as an immigrant was championing the rights of immigrants New Yorkers.”

Assemblymember Francisco Moya said: “No New Yorkers should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent. Unfortunately, that’s the harsh reality for far too many. A minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour will allow more New Yorkers to move into the middle class. America was built on the promise of upward mobility, but today’s minimum wage forces too many Americans into a pattern of treading water. I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for putting New York on the forefront of the fight for equity and fairness by championing a higher minimum wage for all.”

Assemblymember N. Nick Perry said: “Today, as Washington stands still, New Yorkers march forward. Together unified under the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, I look forward to standing strong with my colleagues in Albany to raise the minimum wage next legislative session.”

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said: “Too many hard working men and women struggle to put food on the table or to pay rent as a result of a low minimum wage. I look forward to joining Governor Cuomo in his fight for economic justice because we need to bring a day where New Yorkers are paid what they deserve – a living wage.”

New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said: “America is a country of immigrants, and no place exemplifies that more than New York. I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking an active role in the fight for economic justice and a living wage that workers – many of whom are immigrants who came to this country in search of the American Dream – can raise their families on.”

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos said: “New York is the land of opportunity, and for centuries it has stood as a beacon of light showing America the way forward. In the spirit of Governor Mario Cuomo, it’s time to brighten our light and make this city a shining city for all New Yorkers by raising the minimum wage to $15.”

New York City Councilman Rory Lancman said: “The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice honors both working people and their greatest champion, and Governor Andrew Cuomo is the guy who can deliver New York a minimum wage people can actually live on.”