De Blasio to Raise Minimum Wage for City Workers to $15 an Hour by 2018

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio addresses a World AIDS Day gathering in Harlem on December 1, 2015 in New York City.

New York City’s lowest wage workers are getting a raise. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce on Wednesday he plans to raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour by 2018. The move will also cover employees of not-for-profits contracted with the city. Altogether, 50,000 employees will receive the wage increase at a cost of $238 million over four years.

Speaking exclusively to WNYC, the mayor described the move as part of his larger OneNYC plan to move more New Yorkers out of poverty: “Our goal is, again, 800,000 people over the next 10 years and one of the central ways to do that is to raise wage levels.”

“We’re going to be able to do that now for 50,000 employees, which means thousands and thousands of family members will be affected as well,” said de Blasio.

The news of the wage boost comes just two weeks after the mayor told WNYC he would issue an executive order to guarantee all non-union city employees at least six weeks of fully-paid parental leave and up to 12 weeks when combined with accrued vacation time.

The wage increase will impact 20,000 direct city employees, including school crossing guards, job training participants and seasonal workers.

The other 30,000 will be comprised of employees at not-for-profits that contract with the city, including child care providers and teacher aides.

Jennifer Jones Austin, head of The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, called the wage increase a “crucial step forward” for human service workers who have struggled to make ends meet on minimum wage salaries.

“They are people who have determined they want to care for the vulnerable in the city. But they themselves don't want to be vulnerable while working full-time jobs,” said Jones Austin.

The move also comes just days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would phase in a minimum wage increase for State University of New York employees to $15 an hour.

Since this summer, Cuomo has stepped up his support for wage increases, acting on behalf of fast food workers and state employees. Those moves stand in stark contrast to his position at the start of 2015, when he dismissed de Blasio’s push for a higher minimum wage for New York City during budget talks.

The mayor flatly dismissed the notion that this latest policy announcement was part of what has seemed to be an ongoing battle with the governor.

“One thing I can tell you for sure, New York City is going to keep acting to improving the well-being of our people,” said de Blasio, “regardless of what the state and federal government do.”