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Cuomo administration officials said Monday they would unilaterally raise the minimum wage for State University of New York employees, extending a policy Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced for other state workers in November.
The initiative would affect about 28,000 SUNY employees, including about 3,900 on Long Island, according to the Cuomo administration. The raise has to be approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees. The governor said the board will support the move though it wasn’t immediately clear when it would formally do so.
Like other state workers, SUNY employees would see the wage incrementally increased over several years. It would increase from the current $9 per hour to $9.75 in February and eventually reach $15 on Dec. 31, 2018 for SUNY employees in New York City; July 1, 2021, in the rest of the state.
It’s the latest in Cuomo’s push for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage.
In February, Cuomo shot down a proposal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $13 per hour that was backed by Assembly Democrats and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Now, Cuomo wants to be the first governor to implement a $15 per hour statewide minimum wage.
“This state thrives when every New Yorker has the opportunity and the ability to succeed. Yet the truth is that today’s minimum wage still leaves far too many people behind — unacceptably condemning them to a life of poverty even while they work full-time,” the Democrat said in a statement.
He has said he’d urge lawmakers to approve it in the upcoming 2016 legislative session. The Republican-led Senate has generally opposed raising the minimum wage, though it agreed to in 2013 as part of a package that also included business-tax cuts.
The wage hike for SUNY employees comes as trustees are asking the state Legislature to raise tuition by $300 annually and increase aid to the SUNY system by 14 percent.