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N.Y. Wage Board Recommends Hike to $15

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State’s Fast Food Wage Board has recommended the state Labor Department increase the state minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 per hour in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by 2021.

This proposal affects all chain and franchised convenience stores with 30 or more locations nationally. A fast-food employee is defined as “any person employed or permitted to work at or for a fast-food establishment by any employer where such person's job duties include at least one of the following: customer service, cooking, food or drink preparation, delivery, security, stocking supplies or equipment, cleaning, or routine maintenance.”

James Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), told CSNews Online that the cost implications associated with the proposal could be a major blow to many of its retailer members.

"Convenience store chain and franchise operators are stunned that the State of New York would try to order them to artificially double their payroll costs without the consent of the elected legislature, without concern for how it would affect prices or employment, and without regard for the degree to which their stores are engaged in foodservice,” Calvin said.

Under the terms of the proposal, New York City’s fast-food minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour on Dec. 31; rising to $12 per hour on Dec. 31, 2016; $13.50 per hour on Dec. 31, 2017; and $15 per hour on Dec. 31, 2018.

Regarding the rest of the state, the minimum wage is proposed to be $9.75 per hour on Dec. 31; $10.75 per hour on Dec. 31, 2016; $11.75 per hour on Dec. 31, 2017; $12.75 per hour on Dec. 31, 2018; $13.75 per hour on Dec. 31, 2019; $14.50 per hour on Dec. 31, 2020; and $15 per hour on July 1, 2021.

Calvin revealed NYACS plans to meet with New York’s Labor Commissioner to discuss these changes.

“Foodservice is a part of our business, not our primary business,” he said. “In fact, it represents less than one-fifth of convenience store sales on average. Our valued employees are cross-trained to prepare food and perform a variety of other unrelated functions inside the store. [They] are a separate and distinct class of workers from the group of employees we believe the Wage Board was created to examine.”

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