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Published On: Thu, Jul 23rd, 2015

New York fast-food wage hike could cost over $1 billion

New York appears to be moving on a massive minimum wage hike for fast-food workers, going to $15 over the next few years, as detailed by NPR.

A state panel in New York recommended the minimum wage for fast-food chain restaurant employees be raised to $15 an hour.

The Fast Food Wage Board, appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, passed a motion to raise the wage in a 3-0 vote, with gradual increases until July 1, 2021, when the full hike would be implemented. State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino can accept, reject or modify the board’s recommendation.

Bloomberg reports the panel was convened by Cuomo to bypass Republicans in the state Senate, who have fought previous initiatives to raise the minimum wage.

The New York State Restaurant Association told Bloomberg that raising wages one sector at a time is wrong.

“From day one Governor Cuomo’s wage board has sought to silence the business community and force through an unfair and discriminatory increase on a single sector of one industry,” [Melissa] Fleischut said in a statement emailed Wednesday.

“The result is an extremist policy that will force business owners in this low profit margin industry to cut hours, lay off employees and use technology to help offset skyrocketing labor costs.”

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

photo 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

In a statement to NPR, Bill Lipton, director of New York’s Working Families Party, which pushed heavily for the wage hike, said: “Two and a half years ago, $15 was considered a crazy dream — now it’s close to becoming reality for over 180,000 working families. Hopefully, not too long from now, we’ll look back with amazement that we as a society ever allowed corporations in any industry to force millions to work full-time yet still live in poverty. ”

If that’s a $5 raise (from a current salary of 10/hour), a 25 hours/week employee would $6,500 more annually. Using the 180, 000 figure of effected families: $1.17 Billion.

Big Macs may just get a lot more expensive in New York.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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