Nolan: New York’s Workers Deserve Better Pay

March 1, 2004

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan announced that a measure she co-sponsored that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $7.10 an hour was passed by the Assembly (A.9710).

"New Yorkers should make decent, livable wages and shouldn’t have to worry about putting food on the table after working hard for 40 hours each week," Nolan said. "This legislation reflects my strong belief that hard-working New Yorkers should be fairly rewarded for their labor."

The legislation would increase the state minimum wage to $6.00 per hour on October 1, 2004; $6.75 an hour on July 1, 2005; and $7.10 an hour on January 1, 2006. Currently, food service workers receiving tips have a minimum wage of $3.30 per hour. That would rise to $3.90 an hour on October 1, 2004; $4.40 per hour on July 1, 2005; and $4.65 an hour on January 1, 2006.

Nolan was successful in passing the last increase in New York’s minimum wage in 1999 when the hourly rate went from $4.75 to the current $5.15 per hour.

A full-time minimum wage worker earns only $10,712 - $4,112 less than the official federal poverty level for a family of three. Four of New York’s neighbors currently have minimum wage levels above the current $5.15 level, including: Vermont ($6.75), Massachusetts ($6.75), Connecticut ($7.10) and Rhode Island ($6.75).

Other provisions of the bill allow an employee advocate to bring a wage and hour complaint, and establish the state labor commissioner’s access to wage and hour records in investigating alleged violations.

"Our state’s antiquated minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is an insult to the New Yorkers who work in some of the toughest jobs," Nolan said. "Families need an increased minimum wage to help make ends meet. I urge the Senate and the governor to join the Assembly in improving the lives of hard-working New Yorkers."