New York's months-long battle over raising the minimum wage for fast food workers should hit a major mile marker on Wednesday, when the state's wage board is expected to recommend raising the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15, according to sources reported in the Wall Street Journal. The state's labor commission is likely to give his sign-off on that recommendation, too.
The decision comes three months after governor Andrew Cuomo tasked the state's wage board with providing new wage recommendations, bypassing the legislature after it pushed back on some of his other efforts to raise the minimum wage. The decision would be a huge coup for the #FightFor15 movement that's organized itself around the country, but not everyone is happy with the news. Franchise owners are particularly fearful of the decision. In a survey conducted earlier this summer, 78 percent of the 500 fast food restaurant owners surveyed said that a $15 minimum wage would force them to lay off workers or cut back on hours or staffing levels. And approximately half of those polled said that they might be forced to close if the minimum wage rose from the current rate of $8.75 an hour to $15. Others, plan to pass at least part of the increase on to consumers by raising prices.
It's unclear at the moment who precisely the new wage would impact and when. One rumor reported in the Journal says chains with as few as 10 outlets across two states would be impacted, meaning several local chains like Baked by Melissa, Chop't, and Dig Inn would be included. Though, the majority of people involved in the fight seem to represent workers at fast food giants like McDonald's and Burger King.
Cuomo believes raising the minimum wage for fast food workers will ease the burden on the state, which pays for public assistance that many who work in the industry rely on. At a rally in May he said: "It costs this state $700 million a year to subsidize the profits at McDonald's and Burger King and that is wrong and that must stop."