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New York’s fast-food workers won a hard-fought and important victory Wednesday: a $15 minimum wage.

Wages are set to be raised in New York City in December 2018 and in the rest of the state by July 2021.

“This is one of the really great days of my administration,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a tweet shortly after the decision.

The decision follows similar increases in minimum wages in cities including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to raise the county’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, matching a decision made by the Los Angeles City Council in June.

The Guardian reports:

New York will lead the way in fighting economic inequality, Cuomo said after the wage board announced its recommendations. “It is an injustice when you have a growing income inequality, [when] fewer and fewer Americans are becoming richer and richer and more Americans working harder and harder and getting left behind,” he said. “It is an injustice when working families in this country have gone backwards over the past 10 years when you add in inflation. It is a shame that in this nation with all our progress, one in five children live poverty. That is a shame.”

Cuomo also predicted that this will set a nationwide trend.

“When New York acts, the rest of the states follow. That is the New York way,” he said.

“This is a historical moment. We did it,” Jorel Ware, a McDonald’s worker, said at the rally celebrating the wage board’s recommendations. Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with both “I can’t breathe” and “Fight for $15”, he said fewer people would live in poverty thanks to the wage increase.

“It’s wonderful. I get to live on my own again. I am telling you it’s a wonderful thing. When I started the fight, I just wanted something better for myself,” he said. “The Fight for $15 has showed me what’s possible when people stick and work together.”

According to Byron Brown, mayor of Buffalo and chairman of the wage board, the board heard in-person testimonies and received over 2,000 additional written testimonies prior to making its decision.

“It’s not just good for the workers in the room, but it’s good for the economy. It’s good for the state and it’s good for America,” said Mike Fishman, secretary-treasurer of the SEIU and member of the wage board. He said that the fast food industry has not kept up with other industries and is currently being subsidized by billions of tax dollars.

“[These subsidies are] something that became clear to us, the people who talked to us,” he said, adding that when the wages are raised, those tax dollars can go to other programs. “When industry will not correct itself, the governor has to step in.”

Fast food workers in New York City will get their first pay hike this December, to $10.50, which will be followed by a $1.50 increase in December of 2016, 2017 and 2018. In the rest of the state, the wage of fast food workers will go up to $9.75 in December of this year, and then increase by a $1 each year up to December 2019. In December 2020, it will increase by 75 cents and by 50 cents in July 2021, when it will finally reach $15 an hour.

Read the rest of the story here.

Also, find out about our former Truthdiggers of the Week, the workers who won $15 an hour in Los Angeles, here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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