Wage board recommends $15/hr. for fast food workers

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – About two dozen fast food workers watched as the announcement came down that they’d be getting $15/hr.

They immediately cheered when they heard the news, but that excitement quickly diminished when they realized it wouldn’t come until 2021.

The cheers turned into boos as the fast food wage board recommended a $15 minimum wage for all fast food workers in New York, but it will take 6 years for workers outside New York City to see that increase.

The board will phase in that number, increasing their minimum wage by about one dollar per year, until 2021, when they will see their “Fight for 15” become a reality.

Workers in NYC will see that pay three years earlier, in 2018.

Stacey Ellis works at McDonald’s and she’s one of many disappointed in the timeline. She says by the end of this year, her paycheck will only go up $50, and she feels six years is too long.

“It’s like we fight and we fight. I just think the differential between New York City and here was not fair. Yes they have a higher standard of living there, but we all work fast food. I do the same job they do,” said Ellis, worker at McDonald’s.

The board says the timeline is to help businesses adjust to the wage increase. The NYS restaurant association says this will force employers to cut hours, lay off employees, and use technology to offset labor costs.

Next Steps

According to statute, the Wage Board must now finalize and submit a report to Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino. The Board is scheduled to meet on Monday, July 27, to approve its report. The details of this meeting will be announced soon.

The Board’s Report and Recommendations will then be published and followed by a 15-day public comment period. Comments will be accepted online and by mail.

Based on those comments, the commissioner may accept, reject or modify the board’s recommendations and file a wage order. The wage order must be filed within 45 days once the report is filed. The order is then subject to an additional regulatory process.

The full text of the motions are available at: www.labor.ny.gov/fastfoodwageboard.

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