WXXI AM News

minimum wage

There is a movement across may parts of the country to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- and not just for fast food workers. Many Democrats are calling for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, or at least that amount on the state and local levels. 

Seattle is a leader in this story; in 2014, it began moving to a $15 minimum wage. Since then, other cities have taken note. 

This hour, we talk to local business owners on both sides of the debate. In studio:

  • Jonathan Orpin, founder and president of Pioneer Millworks in Farmington, NY
  • Tim Schiefen, owner of Certified Automotive Repair in Bloomfield, NY
  • David Hyde, reporter and interviewer for KUOW in Seattle

Associated Press

The minimum wage is going up at year's end throughout New York state.

In the Rochester region, and the rest of the state outside New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County, the minimum wage will rise to $9.70 an hour, up from the current $9 an hour.

Within New York City the wage will rise from $9 to $11 per hour, though the increase will be smaller for employees of small businesses. Their wage will increase to $10.50 an hour.

On Long Island and in Westchester County, the minimum wage will go to $10 an hour.

The final votes are being counted for the New York State budget, and the basic framework has been announced.

There will be an increase in the minimum wage, but Upstate New York will get less than New York City and Long Island. We'll talk about the schedule.

Paid family leave will happen. We'll talk about when it will take effect and how it will work.

We'll also talk about education funding: the gap elimination adjustment is gone. What will that mean for schools, and is it what advocates wanted?

Finally, why wasn't there an ethics deal in the budget? We'll work through all of these questions and more. Our guests:

  • Karen DeWitt, chief of WXXI's Capitol Bureau
  • Eamonn Scanlon, lead education organizer with Metro Justice
  • Tim Schiefen, owner of Certified Automotive Repair in Bloomfield
  • Brian Sampson, president of the state Associated Builders and Contractors

Business leaders have warned that a $15 statewide minimum wage could be the "final straw." Advocates say it's the best way to eliminate the very notion of the "working poor." Governor Cuomo wants to get it done. Senate Republicans are divided.

What would the impact be? Our panel comes from different sides to discuss a $15 minimum wage. Our guests:

Bob Duffy, the CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, joins us in studio to mark his first full year in the role.

Duffy and his colleagues talk about their legislative preferences for the New York State legislature and current topics of interest, including paid family leave and raising the minimum wage. Our guests:

  • Bob Duffy, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO
  • Susan George, Rochester Chamber of Commerce events director
  • Chris Wiest, Rochester Chamber of Commerce vice president of public policy and advocacy

A $15 minimum wage is what Governor Andrew Cuomo wants for all of New York State. Earlier this year, Cuomo's wage board pushed through the wage for the fast food industry alone, but the governor says that's not enough. Our guests discuss the possible impact of a $15 wage. We're joined by:

  • Chris Wiest, Vice President of Public Policy with the Rochester Business Alliance
  • Colin O'Malley, Organizing Director for Metro Justice
  • Kent Gardner, Chief Economist with the Center for Governmental Research

Proponents of the Fight for $15 movement were rewarded today by a recommendation from Governor Cuomo's wage board, and fast food workers in Rochester are celebrating.

The wage board recommends that by the end of 2021, fast food companies with 30 or more establishments pay their workers $15 an hour across the state. Fast food employees and supporters gathered outside a McDonalds on Culver Avenue to cheer the decision.

The 'Fight for 15' is happening next week. Fast food workers around the country will rally for a $15 per hour wage. What happens if they do get it? What about if they don't? We have an interview with KUOW's Deborah Wang who has reported on the 'Fight for 15'. Then we will discuss the rally and the reasoning behind it with our guests:

  • AJ, a Burger King worker who has been on strike twice with the campaign
  • Kim Ramos, former Wendy's employee and currently a Fight for 15 organizer.
  • Colin O’Malley, organizing director of Metro Justice

Links mentioned by Deborah Wang:

"How Seattle Agonized over, and passed, $15 Minimum Wage"

"Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage is 'Going to Change Everything'"

KUOW's $15 Minimum Wage Coverage

We examine the minimum wage debate, which has heated up in Albany. Governor Cuomo has proposed raising the state minimum wage to $10.50 in 2017 (and $11.50 in New York City). Assembly Democrats have proposed $10.50 in 2017, $12.60 in 2019, and they want to attach the wage to inflation. A coalition of business groups have released a statement opposing any new increase in the minimum wage. Our guests will debate:

Greg Biryla, executive director of Unshackle Upstate
Colin O'Malley, Metro Justice

Mike Groll / AP

As part of his budget plan, Governor Cuomo wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 across the state and $11.50 in New York City. He says raising the minimum wage doesn't just help workers on a personal level, it will also immediately impact the economy.

"You know, when you raise the minimum wage, the workers who receive the raise spend it. Why? Because they need it. They're literally living paycheck to paycheck. So you raise the wage, and it will be an economic stimulus because three billion dollars is a significant amount in the state economy."

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