BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced their “Fight For Fair Pay” initiative Tuesday in Buffalo.
The “fight” is calling for an increase to the state’s minimum wage. Cuomo wants to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour.
The governor said, “If you work full time you should be able to afford for your family with decency and pride.”
Cuomo said a higher minimum wage “will restore thousands of New Yorkers with pride and dignity to support themselves.”
There is a long-running tradition at Reid’s Drive-in in Lockport… aside from the Cheesburgs and Red Hots.
“My grandfather started this business in 1946. And ever since then, he’s been employing high school and college kids and helping put kids through college,” said manager Jonathan Reid.
Reid said they employ between 30 and 50 people depending on the season. Nearly all are under 21 years old and start at minimum wage.
“I feel like our minimum wage jobs are for kids just getting started out. And it’s an entry level position,” Reid said.
Reid’s had to raise prices last year when minimum wage rose to $8 then $8.75 an hour.
The number will rise to $9 in 2016, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says that’s not enough.
He’s now fighting for $10.50 an hour.
Cuomo dodged the question of the effect on small businesses, answering that studies show the economy would benefit.
“If you raise minimum wage workers’ salaries, the first thing they’ll do is spend it. And that’s the best way to stimulate the economy,” Cuomo said.
Those who’ve worked at minimum wage, trying to make a living, they’ll tell you it’s not easy.
“It’s hard because you can’t meet your — you can’t buy groceries and take care of everything. It’s hard,” said Terry Payne of Lockport.
“I think we should raise it because these people cannot work on what they’re making. So I think it’s a great idea,” said Nancy Body of Lockport.
A bill to raise the minimum wage again would have to pass the New York Legislature, and right now Republicans in the Senate do not support it.