Raise Up New York – Talking Points and Background

Talking points and background information below outline RUNY’s mission and goals, but be sure to center your own personal experiences working, meeting your family’s needs, and grappling with rising costs and rent. Your personal story is the most persuasive tool to make clear that hard working New Yorkers need a higher minimum wage.


  • We are living through the worst cost-of-living crisis in 40 years — and as low-wage and underpaid workers, we’re hurting the worst.
  • Right now, I make a minimum wage of $15 an hour, but because of rising prices, it’s now worth only $12.75. No one can survive on that amount of money.
  • I can’t pay rent, put food on the table, or provide for my family on poverty wages.{include your personal experience and hardships here}.
    • I’m working X hours Y days a week and yet I don’t have any financial security or stability.Politicians can’t tell people to work for a living and then watch them go broke trying. If you believe in the dignity of work then you have to put your money where your mouth is.
  • That’s why we are fighting for a $21.25 minimum wage by 2026 that will automatically increase to keep up with the cost of living.
  • Workers are more productive than ever, and corporations are making record profits – even during this pandemic when workers like me are getting sick on the job because we can’t afford not to work 
  • CEO’s now make 400 times more than workers and corporate profits are higher than ever, while we haven’t had a raise in 4 years.
  • We deserve our fair share, and we desperately need it.
  • Raising the minimum wage will uplift me and 2.9 million other workers, putting $3,300 on average back into our pockets.
  • And that’s money that goes back into the economy {include here what you could spend that money on}.
  • We can’t afford to wait.
  • Ten years ago we were a part of the worker-led fight for a $15 minimum wage, and we made history here in New York as the first state in the nation to take action. And contrary to what opponents say, raising the wage actually led to job growth, not job loss.
  • Now it’s time for New York to lead again.



  • New Yorkers are living through the worst cost-of-living crisis in 40 years — and low-wage and underpaid workers are bearing the brunt of this crisis. With the minimum wage frozen at $15 an hour, salaries are now worth 15% less than they were in 2019. That means $15 is only worth $12.75 — wages no one can survive on in New York.
  • We are fighting for a $21.25 minimum wage by 2026 that automatically increases each year to keep up with the rising cost of living. $21.25 equals what $15 would be worth had it been adjusted with rising prices. Restoring the minimum wage will uplift 2.9 million workers to help them adjust to rising costs right now.
  • New York’s workers deserve swift action by the Governor and legislature to raise the minimum wage to $21.25 and introduce automatic increases to ensure every family can afford basic necessities now and in the future.


  • Raise Up NY supports Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner’s Raise the Wage Act which raises the state’s minimum wage to over $21.25 by 2026 downstate and by 2027 upstate, and automatically increases it thereafter to keep up with rising costs.
  • If passed into law, 2.9 million workers — 32% of New York’s workforce — would see an average increase of $3,300 a year. 

WHY $21.25?

  • The minimum wage in New York City has been frozen at $15 since 2018 — no increases even as prices and rent are going through the roof.
  • Wages need to catch up to where they would be if $15 had increased annually along with cost of living since 2018 — which equals to over $21.25 by 2026.


  • Rising costs of living disproportionately harm workers making a minimum wage. We spend a much bigger portion of our income on necessities like housing, food and utilities — vital purchases that we can’t delay.
  • When the prices of necessities increase, and our wages stay the same, it makes a life or death difference. Low-income families can become housing, food and energy insecure overnight.
  • Statewide, more than half of workers earning the minimum wage are Black, Latinx, or Asian, and in New York City, more than three quarters. 53% of workers earning the minimum wage are women and nearly 1 in 3 are parents supporting young children.


  • Governor Hochul’s proposal to index the minimum wage is a good start, and it’s encouraging to see her listening to the needs of working people. But we need to raise the minimum wage first, before indexing, so that we can first regain the value of a $15 minimum wage. Otherwise, we would be codifying unlivable wages.
  • We need to raise the $15 minimum wage to $21.25, to account for the historic rise in cost of living.


  • Recent statewide polling shows that 80% of New York voters – 89% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and 65% of Republicans – support our bill to raise the minimum wage to $21.25, and then introduce automatic increases each year to keep up with rising costs and worker productivity.
  • New Yorkers of all political backgrounds overwhelmingly agree that workers need much more than $15 an hour.


  • Past wage increases in New York led to job growth, not job loss. From 2013 to 2019, employment in New York City grew by over 18%, compared to 14% in cities that did not increase the minimum wage.
  • Increasing the minimum wage helps businesses keep their employees, saving businesses recruitment and retention costs.
  • Supporting our local businesses is important! And when we raise wages, it puts more money in the pockets of workers who spend it at local businesses, boosting sales and New York’s overall economy, while allowing them to provide for themselves and their families.


  • Increasing the minimum wage has little impact on prices. Studies show increases to minimum wages lead to very small (less than half a percent!) price increases during the month wages are first increased.
  • Wage increases are only a small factor when businesses determine prices of their goods. The primary factors do not include wages, but the cost of raw materials and profits.