In appointing a state wage board to look into raising the pay of fast-food workers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a message to state lawmakers: He doesn’t need them. . . .
According to Paul Sonn, the National Employment Law Project’s general counsel, Cuomo could raise the state minimum unilaterally if he wanted to — not just the tipped minimum or the minimum for particular occupations. . . .
By raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers, Sonn said, Cuomo is reasserting an authority that governors have “underused” in recent years. Sonn said it was more commonly used during the 1940s and 1950s, when “the minimum wage was not politicized” and “states were expanding their minimum wages to cover more occupations.”
“He is the innovator on this,” Sonn said. “He is really dusting off this power and showing that now that … the crisis of poverty wages is front and center in the national agenda. Governors need to use all their options.”
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