The NY State Assembly
Labor Committee

Catherine Nolan, Chair
March 24, 2001


Increase In Hourly Rate From $5.15 To $6.75

A bill to raise New York's minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.75 per hour was passed by the Assembly by a vote of 126-20. The bill now goes to the Senate where it awaits action.

The bill, A.5132, sponsored by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and co-sponsored by thirty-two Members of the Assembly, would increase the state minimum wage on January 1, 2002. In addition, after 2003 the minimum wage would increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index increases as determined by the United States Department of Labor. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since the 1960's, it would be closer to $7.30 per hour.

"The minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, so in terms of buying power it is at its lowest level in many years," said Assemblywoman Nolan. "A significant number of family breadwinners rely on minimum wage jobs to support their families, so an increase will result in an improved standard of living for many households all across the state."

"The state minimum rate of $5.15 per hour was increased in December 1999 after ten years at $4.25. This was done to reflect the federal rate. Other states, such as Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon and Washington State have increased their minimum rate to a rate higher than $5.15 per hour. Massachusetts recently raised its rate to $6.75 per hour," said Nolan.


Re-Passes Bill Pocket Vetoed by Governor Last Year

The Assembly has once again unanimously passed the Health Care Whistleblower Protection Act. This same bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously last year, but the Governor failed to sign the legislation.

The bill, A.3259, sponsored by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, would protect workers in public and private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes from the threat of losing their jobs if they report illegal or unsafe practices that jeopardize patient care.

"New Yorkers rely on their health-care professionals to be qualified and conscientious," said Assemblywoman Nolan. "At a time when the health-care system is facing critical staffing shortages and mounting pressure to cut costs, workers need protection from retaliation if they report improper or deficient patient care."

The bill now goes to the Senate for action.


The Assembly Labor Committee met today and reported the following legislation. If you have any questions about these or other labor bills, please call Geri Reilly, Committee Counsel and Labor Liaison at (518) 455-4851.

  • A. 5275 (Nolan) - This bill would permit farm laborers to join unions, to organize and to bargain collectively. REPORTED to the floor

  • A. 3306 (Hooper) - This bill would permit members of the Workers' Compensation Board to perform teaching duties at colleges or universities when such duties do not interfere with their Board duties. REPORTED to the floor

  • A. 3219A (McEneny) - This bill would allow school boards to take factors such as the use of child labor into consideration in school purchase contracts. REPORTED to Ways & Means

  • A. 528 (Brodsky) - This bill would establish a whistleblower program for those working in nuclear power plants. REPORTED to Codes

  • A. 4940 (Nolan, Hooper, Boyland, Eddington, Millman) - This bill would clarify the labor law to ensure that tips, gratuities and service charges intended for the wait-staff would actually go to them. REPORTED to Codes

  • A. 222 (Tokasz, Nolan) - This bill would create a new definition for those qualifying as the "lowest responsible bidder" for purposes of the award of state contracts. It would include a determination regarding past compliance with state and federal labor laws, environmental laws or a criminal conviction of any state or federal law for any conduct relating to bidding or construction related work by the bidder. REPORTED to Codes

  • A. 2612 (Nolan) - This bill, patterned after California law, would enable workers to reveal their wages to each other without fear of reprisal. Its purpose is to ensure that workers concerned about wage discrimination can gather the information needed to pursue their claims. REPORTED to Codes

  • A. 2388 (Cahill) - This bill makes certain technical changes to Chapter 559 of the laws of 2000, relating to the care and treatment of emergency workers exposed to various pathogens in the course of their duties. REPORTED to Ways & Means

  • A. 3362 (D'Andrea) - This bill would impose an unreasonable burden on the Department of Labor by requiring that all correspondence be by registered mail, return receipt requested. HELD in Committee