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Board to address minimum wage

NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a plan to get a minimum wage hike that doesn’t require legislative approval.

In an op-ed letter in The New York Times on Thursday, Cuomo said he will direct the state labor commissioner to examine the minimum wage in the fast-food industry.

Cuomo noted that state law empowers the labor commissioner to investigate whether wages paid in a specific industry or job classification are sufficient to provide for the life and health of those workers. If they’re not, a wage board can be impaneled to recommend what adequate wages should be.

Cuomo said he will direct the commissioner on Thursday to set up such a board. The panel will give its recommendations in about three months, and they won’t require legislative approval.

Labor organizers have been pushing for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food workers since late 2012. The campaign is being backed by the Service Employees International Union and has included ongoing protests around the country, lawsuits at home and abroad and other actions. And later this month, organizers say they’re planning to protest again outside McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the minimum wage a national law in 1938 and Cuomo said minimum wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of living.