Contract Talks Lead to $15 Minimum Wage Coverage for CUNY Workers
Thousands of DC 37 members who work at the City University of New York and earn less than $15 an hour will see their salaries increase to conform with the state’s new minimum wage law.
CUNY made the commitment to extend the state’s new $15 an hour minimum wage to its workers during recently concluded contract talks with the union.
“This action will substantially boost the wages of thousands of CUNY workers and reaffirms New York’s commitment to reducing inequality in the state and city,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said.
In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law to increase the minimum wage in New York from its current rate of $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2021.
Many businesses will adopt the $15 rate in 2018 in New York City, where the minimum wage will be implemented more quickly than in the rest of the state.
Back in January, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $15 minimum wage for city workers, including some 20,000 DC 37 members.
But CUNY employees earning less than $15 could not be covered by the state or city changes until CUNY and DC 37 reached a new collective bargaining agreement, officials said.
As a union that represents many modestly paid workers, DC 37 has embraced the national Fight for $15 movement, which originated with fast food workers. The movement has raised public awareness of the struggles of low-wage workers and sparked efforts around the country to raise the minimum wage. New York State and California are the first states to increase their minimum wage laws to $15 per hour.
Under the schedule of the state’s new minimum wage law for New York City, CUNY workers’ pay will go up to $13.50 an hour at the end of 2017 and to $15 an hour at the end of 2018.
The recently negotiated tentative contract will actually put most low-paid CUNY employees above the $12 an hour rate, which goes into effect at the end of the year. If a newly hired employee’s hourly rate is below the $12 minimum, it will be raised to the new minimum.
Members will soon vote by mail ballot on the union’s tentative contract agreement with CUNY. The proposed contract provides for a compounded 10.41 percent wage increase over its term, which lasts from Nov. 1, 2009, to Jan. 31, 2017.