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The state of New York has recommended a new $15 minimum wage for fast food employees, becoming the first state in the union to do so.

The move would affect approximately 180,000 workers who had been making a median wage of $9.03, translating to a 66% raise.

"The Fight For $15 started in New York almost three years ago with a handful of fast-food workers," a statement from the union-backed Fight for $15 movement said. "Now, with this recommendation–they're on the brink of winning $15 across the state."

The rule would kick in for New York City by the end of 2018, for the rest of the state by mid-2021.

In its study on the proposal, the New York Department of Labor put together some eye-opening statistics about the state of fast food labor in New York—for instance, about one-third of the fast food workforce is over 35:


Half earn even less than the current median:

4,000+ workers in the upstate Mohawk Valley earn less than $12,000.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to approve the rule.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.