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The gift that keeps on giving at SUNY

Employees at NYS Public College and Universities will be receiving a raise next month on the way to a $15 minimum wage.

Brian Young's picture
Jan 04, 2016

In 2015 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would be raising the minimum wage to $15/hour for 2,000 state employees, with the first part of the raise coming in December 31, 2015. Cuomo has now announced that he will be extending raises to some other state workers. 

At a press conference, Cuomo announced that he was issuing an executive order to raise the wages of 28,000 State University of New York (SUNY) employees to $15/hour. These employees where not covered under last year’s order.  This increase will include raises for students who are using work study to pay for their schooling.  Many of the work study jobs on campus pay only the minimum wage.  According to the New York Times, employees at nearly 3 dozen campuses will see their wages rise next month to $9.75, while employees at SUNY schools in NYC will see them increase to $10.50.  CUNY employees will not be eligible for the raise. Employees at SUNY schools within NYC will see their wage hit $15 by the end of 2018, while schools outside the city will see a $15 wage by July 2021. 

According to the United University Professions, a union that represents many of the student workers and professors on SUNY campuses, the raise will effect 1/3 of the SUNY staff, many of whom have terminal degrees.  SUNY workers can thank Syracuse Mayor Steph Minor for ratcheting up the need to raise the wage when she raised the salary of all city employees to $15.  Just a month later, Cuomo announced his plan to raise wages for state employees.  In a statement on raising SUNY wages, he said  “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. This year, we are going to change that.”

The move comes as Governor Cuomo has jumped head first into the Fight for $15 movement.  2015 saw executive orders that raised the minimum wage for Fast Food workers as well as state employees.  With the legislature coming back into session on January 6th, raising the minimum wage to $15 is expected to be proposed and debated.  According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Senate Republicans have consistently fought raising the wage and have expressed concern about the effect that a $15 wage would have on businesses.

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