Teachers, police officers weigh in on fast food wage hike

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some fast food workers are calling this a bittersweet victory, but others are outraged that if the wage board’s recommendations are accepted, in a few years, people working at places like McDonald’s would be making more money than those who put their lives on the line.

After months of rallies and protests, fast food workers are getting what they’ve been fighting for. The New York Wage Board is recommending a $15 minimum wage for all fast food workers, but those in the industry tell NEWS10ABC the board’s suggested timeline isn’t good enough.

“My paycheck is only going to go up $50. It’s not going to help my family for another six years,” said Stacy Ellis, a worker at McDonald’s.

That’s because the board is recommending the increase be phased in. The wage for workers outside of NYC will go up about $1 per year, reaching $15 by 2021.

“I would love to put his little Nike sneakers on, buy him little socks, I can’t do that by myself,” said Amanda More, a worker at McDonald’s.

But the announcement brewed a social media storm.

People blasted the decision on Facebook, posting that the industry is not a job that requires years of education and experience. Some argued there are other hard working people that deserve this raise, including a teacher who commented she doesn’t even make that much money. Some Capital Region police officers don’t even make that much.

“Making $13.83 an hour, putting on the uniform, putting on my belt and go out there and answer a call that you don’t know if you’re going to make it home at the end of the day,” said Officer Corey Wagner, a Cambridge-Greenwich Police Officer.

That’s right, $13.83 to put his life on the line as a cop.

Officer Corey Wagner works two other jobs to make ends meet, on top of facing dangerous situations, for less than $15 an hour.

“Nerves are pumping, thoughts are going through your mind when your racing to a call,” Officer Wagner said.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman echoes those concerns. He’s supporting a minimum wage increase across the board and is hoping this step in the fast food industry will build that momentum.

The state’s acting commissioner of labor will have the final decision on the board’s recommendations.

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