A New York state wage board unanimously recommended the increase of fast food workers’ minimum wages to $15 an hour.
New York City workers will be the first to benefit, with the increase due to be in place by the end of 2018.
Fast food workers in the rest of New York state will have to wait until mid 2021 for the rise.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the vote marked “one of the really great days of my administration”.
The state minimum wage is currently $8.75.
Andrew Cuomo also said: “You cannot live and support a family on $18,000 a year in the state of New York, period.
“This is just the beginning. We will not stop until we reach true economic justice.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would now push for every worker in the city, not just fast food staff, to get a higher salary.
“This only underscores how necessary it is to raise the wage across the board. As much as fast food workers need and deserve a raise – and we know they do – we must ensure that every worker gets a living wage,” he said.
While Bill de Blasio has pushed for a higher minimum wage, he does not have the power to set it.
As a result, Gov. Andrew Cuomo created the panel to look at wages in the fast food industry.
Now the panel has backed the increase, it is expected to be backed by the acting state commissioner of labor, marking the last significant hurdle before it becomes mandatory.
The move is expected to affect around 180,000 workers which are employed in the fast food industry in New York state.
The decision follows similar minimum wage increases in other US cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The University of California system earlier said that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 for all hourly workers.
However,the move was not universally welcomed. Restaurant owners warned that the increase would force them to either reduce their staff numbers or increase menu prices.
Jack Bert, a franchisee who owns seven McDonald’s in New York City, said it had been “a flawed process”.
“Singling out fast food restaurants while ignoring other industries that hire workers who are paid under $15 is unfair and discriminatory, harms New York workers, and puts some New York businesses – including mine and my fellow New York McDonald’s franchisees – at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.
Randy Maestro, a lawyer hired by a group of franchise owners, said the group was looking into whether the decision could be challenged in court.
The escape of convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat from a maximum security jail in New York has been described as a “crisis situation” by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, used power tools to break out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora near the Canadian border.
Andrew Cuomo said: “These are dangerous men capable of committing grave crimes again.”
New York State is offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to Richard Matt and David Sweat arrest.
The governor said the prison breakout was the first escape from the facility in 150 years.
The New York Post reported that Richard Matt and David Sweat cut through the steel back walls of their cell before clambering along a catwalk to reach a series of pipes and tunnels, which they again cut their way through.
Richard Matt and David Sweat then climbed up through a manhole into a nearby street, “disappearing into the darkness some 20 miles south of Canada”.
They placed bundles of clothing in their beds to fool guards into believing they were asleep, before making their escape during Friday night. Their absence from adjoining cells was not discovered until the following morning.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said someone must have heard at least some of the noise.
After the prisoners were apprehended, the authorities would conduct a full review of the escape, he added.
“We’ll go through the exact details of what they did and how they did it to ensure this never happens again.”
Richard Matt was given a jail term of 25 years to life for the kidnapping and beating a man to death in 1997.
David Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy, Kevin Tarsia.
Police are trying to determine how the men acquired the tools needed to carry out the escape.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo posted pictures of pipes and walls with chunks cut out after he was shown the inmates’ escape route.
More than 200 officers are searching for Richard Matt and David Sweat, using sniffer dogs and aerial surveillance.
They may have crossed the border into Canada or headed to another state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. There is also concern they may have had assistance from someone outside the prison.
Roadblocks have been set up in the area to catch Richard Matt and David Sweat, who both have distinctive tattoos, according to local media.
Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo has died just hours before his son Andrew was inaugurated for a second term as governor, family sources say.
Mrio Cuomo, 82, refused a number of proposals to seek the US presidency during the course of a long career.
The three-time Democratic governor died of heart failure at his home.
The New York Times described Mario Cuomo as a “liberal beacon” who “commanded the attention of the country with a compelling public presence”.
It said that he will be remembered for his “exhaustive ruminations about whether to run for president”.
Mario Cuomo was urged by the Democrats twice to run for the White House – in 1988 and 1992 – but on each occasion rejected their overtures.
A renowned political orator, Mario Cuomo led New York during volatile times from 1983 to 1994 and many of his ambitious plans were stifled by recession and cash shortages.
Mario Cuomo did not attend his son’s inauguration speech on January 1st because he was not well – however the current governor used the occasion to honor his father.
“He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here,” Andrew Cuomo said.
“He is here and his inspiration and his legacy and his experience is what has brought this state to this point, so let’s give him a round of applause.”
Mario Cuomo’s moved in public prominence in 1982 when he won the Democratic nomination for governor of New York, beating Ed Koch, the mayor of New York City. He then went on to defeat conservative millionaire Republican Lewis Lehrman.
His reputation for powerful oratory began at the 1984 Democratic National Convention when he delivered his Tale of Two Cities keynote address, in which he contrasted wealthy New York with its poorer areas.
Correspondents say that the son of Italian immigrants and avid baseball fan was an unusually deep-thinking politician whose eloquence was often matched by his prickliness.
Mario Cuomo won two more terms as governor in 1986 and 1990, and frequently vetoed legislation that would have restored the death penalty in New York.
The New York state Board of Elections is preparing for the worst as they are releasing information about possible back-up scenarios if the election turn out is significantly lower than expected because of damage from Hurricane Sandy.
If less than 25% of registered voters show up to polling stations on Tuesday, they are prepared to extend the voting deadline past Tuesday evening, meaning that New Yorkers may have two days to cast their ballots.
The news comes just a day after neighboring New Jersey, which is considered the worst-hit of all of the East Coast because of the hurricane, announced that they will allow residents to email their votes in if they are unable to get to a polling station.
Election organizers are grappling with ways to make sure that the presidential election is not thwarted by any turnout issues stemming from Monday’s storm.
The New York board, which consists of two Democrats and two Republicans, will make the final decision Tuesday over whether or not they will hold a second day of voting.
They will be comparing this year’s turnout to that of previous elections, where typical turnout hovers around 60% of registered voters.
While power was restored to Manhattan on Friday, thousands remain in the dark. Progress is being made daily, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged utility companies to prioritize polling sites so that voters can cast their ballots safely.
“We’ve provided lists of poll sites to local utilities, and some of the voting machines do have battery backup,” board of elections spokesman Tom Connolly said.
“We are also planning to get generators to polling sites, but it’s not like we have an unlimited supply of generators.”
New York may extend voting for an extra day due to Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy, that barreled down on New Jersey and New York on October 29, has claimed 110 lives, displaced thousands and left millions without power for days.
Flooding, damaged roads and power outages have forced many Jerseyites from their homes and the electronic option will allow first responders who are working away from home and those displaced by the storm to cast their ballot.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his counterpart in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, have been reviewing how to prepare their respective states for November 6 – while simultaneously trying to restore electricity and access to food and water.
New Jersey will allow any state resident that has been displaced by the storm to qualify as an overseas voter, meaning they can submit their ballot by fax or email.
Governor Chris Christie also mandated that county clerks open their offices over the weekend to allow early voting and has called for paper ballots to be sent to polling stations still without power.
Tens of thousands of people whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy could soon need housing as cold weather closes in, New York’s political leaders have warned.
Homes without heat would become uninhabitable as temperatures fell, state Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg put the figure at 30,000-40,000 people.
At least 106 US deaths – 40 of them in New York City – have been blamed on Superstorm Sandy, which struck on 29 October.
Residents who had so far refused to leave their homes would have no other option, Andrew Cuomo told a news conference on Sunday.
He also said there would be increasing pressure on public transport on Monday, as more people returned to work and the schools re-opened.
Fuel shortages were easing, but Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers not to hoard petrol, saying more supplies were on their way.
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy could soon need housing as cold weather closes in
New York City opened warming shelters in areas without power and handed out blankets to residents who insisted on staying in homes without power.
But Michael Bloomberg urged those without heating to leave their homes if necessary.
“You can die from being cold. You can die from fires started when you use candles or stoves to heat your apartment,” he said.
“If you don’t know where to go, stop a cop on the street and say, please tell me where to go. They’ll help you. But we have to make sure that you are safe for a few days and that you have food and water for a few days.”
Temperatures fell to 39 F (4 C) on Sunday and are forecast to go as low as 30 F (-1C) on Monday.
About 730,000 people in New York state still do not have electricity, including more than 130,000 in New York City, the governor said.
Nearly a million people in the neighboring state of New Jersey remain without power, and petrol is being rationed.
Hundreds of runners who had been planning to take part in the New York marathon – cancelled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday – joined impromptu runs to raise funds or deliver aid.
The storm damage from Sandy is also affecting preparations for voting in Tuesday’s elections.
New Jersey residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy will be able to vote by email or fax, the state’s chief election official has decided.
They will be designated as “overseas voters” and can apply for mail-in ballots up until 17:00 on Election Day.
Michael Bloomberg said New York officials would do “anything we can” to help the board of elections, saying “they have real problems”.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo is calling up an additional 1,000 National Guard troops, doubling the Superstorm force he initially thought would be enough to deal with the impending mayhem due to hit the city.
Andrew Cuomo says the troops will be used to prepare for a possible historic storm surge and to contend with widespread damage and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
He already called up 1,000 National Guard troopers on Sunday, saying today the “cruel irony” is that the state is better prepared now because of last year’s tropical storms.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the state is very well prepared and more bridges and tunnels around the city are expected to be closed at 7:00 p.m.
Police evacuated the area surrounding a super luxury high-rise under construction near Carnegie Hall as a rooftop crane dangled precariously in the wind on the roof.
Police have closed off Seventh Avenue between 58th and 55th Streets. All occupants of buildings on West 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues have been advised to move to the lower floors.
The streets were deserted from early this morning after 375,000 people were evacuated from their homes, subways stopped and shops and businesses closed in preparation for what is thought to be one of the worst storms in history.
Manhattan streets were deserted from early this morning after 375,000 people were evacuated from their homes ahead of Hurricane Sandy
A 14-foot wall of water is expected to pummel the east coast after 5:00 p.m. today and residents are bracing themselves for winds of up to 90 mph – with the tunnels in and out of the city shut down at 2:00 p.m.
Subways, schools and the stock exchange will be closed tomorrow as well.
The National Weather Service is reporting 24-foot seas off New Jersey after the storm continues to gather strength as it barrels across the Atlantic.
City officials are bracing for the high tide which is expected to come around 8:00 p.m. with Gov Andrew Cuomo warning: “The worst is still to come. Do not underestimate this storm.”
He added: “We are known for our toughness, but we have a sense of community that is very inspirational.”
LILCO reported more than 115,000 customers on Long Island were without power from Monday morning. Con Edison said at least 21,000 customers in New York City and in Westchester County are without power, while in upstate New York, 10,600 customers are affected.
Two key tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Brooklyn would be closed later on Monday ahead of the hurricane.
Andrew Cuomo said the Holland Tunnel, which opened in 1927 and remains one of the main connections between New Jersey and New York City, would close as a precaution at 2:00 p.m.
The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, known locally as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, will also shut down at the time. New York City bridges will remain open for now, he said at a news conference.
Those on the upper floors of high-rise buildings are getting ready to be evacuated because the winds are going to be significantly stronger than those near ground level.
An alarm was raised after a crane on West 57th Street collapsed on to a 75-story building.
New Yorkers spent most of yesterday cleaning out grocery stores as they stocked up on water, batteries, candles and essential food items.
New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, as it barrels towards America’s largest city, and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials.
Staples like bread, water, eggs, and produce have been flying off the shelves as the city’s 8 million residents prepare for the megastorm.
In addition, for only the second time in the subway’s hundred-year history, the entire metropolitan transit system, including buses, will be halted, starting at 7:00 p.m. tonight, adding a sense of urgency to New Yorker’s pre-storm preparations.
In a news conference shortly before noon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that those living in low-lying areas must evacuate, and said that all public schools will be closed tomorrow.
The mayor urged residents of New York to stay inside as much as possible starting at sundown tonight, warning of high winds up to 70 mph and torrential rain.
In addition to low-lying areas of Manhattan, Michael Bloomberg ordered that residents of the Rockaways, a low-lying area of Queens by Jamaica Bay, evacuate.
“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” he said today.
“This is a serious and dangerous storm.”
New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed Michael Bloomberg’s warnings.
“A situation like this, you don’t want to be overly panicked and overly prepared, but you want to be prudent, you want to do what’s necessary,” he said.
Andrew Cuomo also said the National Guard would be deployed, 200 troops in New York City, and 400 on Long Island.
In addition, nearly 4,000 flights were canceled for Monday, with 857 cancellations at Newark in New Jersey, followed by 632 at New York’s Kennedy Airport and more than 500 cancellations at both New York’s LaGuardia and Philadelphia International.
FlightAware said it expects the number of flight cancellations for Monday and Tuesday to “rise considerably”.
A spokesman for United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings Inc. told the Associated Press that the carrier has suspended an unspecified number of flights to New York and Washington-area airports beginning Sunday evening with plans to resume Tuesday as conditions permit.
JetBlue Airways, which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through Wednesday morning.