New York Fast-Food Workers Just Scored a Big Win In Their Fight For a Living Wage

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/126164815@N04/17162302381/in/photolist-s9zhzc-s9CtHn-s9zqdP-rcCnMo-rcCtH1-rcCoQ5-s7kyEU-rS4nJW-rS4dBs-rSbnH8-s9u5GA-s7kDP1-rQirta-s7kxCo-rQiAnT-rcQ85T-s7ksMm-rSbgU4-rSbmCH-s7kAAh-s9zoBn-s9zkEv-rS4io1-rS35td-s9zmE6-fozL9Q-fozLHW-fozLxE-fozKYu-foku24-foktJv-fokupn-fokuk6-nCk7YS-nAi7E3-nkQC55-nCknCx-nC6FVj-nkQZem-nCk5QU-nCkr25-nC3JkK-nkQeuf-nC3w3t-nCjEeE-nC6E17-nC7geJ-AvpDN-atPLoW-pGFREG">MTEA</a>/Flickr

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In a widely expected move, a panel appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended today that the state’s minimum wage for employees of fast-food chain restaurants be raised to $15 an hour.

The recommendation comes three years after strikes by New York City fast-food workers set off a national labor movement that has led to the passage of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. But unlike those cities, New York doesn’t have the power to set its own minimum wage—it’s up to legislators in Albany.

When New York lawmakers balked at raising the minimum wage last year, Gov. Cuomo convened a board to examine wages in the fast food industry, which employs 180,000 people in the state. The state’s labor commissioner, a Cuomo appointee, has the power to issue an order putting the proposal into effect. If he approves the wage hike, fast-food workers currently earning the state’s minimum wage of $8.75 will get a 70 percent raise, effective by 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state.

“It’s hard to explain to my children why they can’t do things other kids do,” Barbara Kelley, a Buffalo mother who works at Dunkin’ Donuts and takes home an average of $150 a week, said in a statement released by labor organizers. “With $15 an hour, I will be able to get by and maybe reward my kids in little ways, like ice cream after a long day, and in big ways like being able to save for the future.” Labor organizers are optimistic that the $15 wage will be adopted and will spur raises in other industries.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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