NY Fast-Food Specific Wage Hike Clears Appeal


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The New York Industrial Board of Appeals rejected an appeal Wednesday which sought to end a fast food-specific $15 minimum wage increase.

The Fast Food Wage Board formed May 20 to study and make policy recommendations. It also gives Gov. Andrew Cuomo the ability to bypass the state legislature to initiate industry specific minimum wage increases. The National Restaurant Association (NRA), however, challenged the eventual decision to raise wages for fast food workers. The Industrial Board of Appeals decided to reject the complaint and uphold the increase, according to The Associated Press.

The decision will gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. The NRA contestes that it violates state law and creates an unfair burden on fast food restaurants. While the fast food increases goes into effect, Cuomo has also pursued a statewide increase.

At the moment the state minimum wage is $8.75 an hour. Cuomo first announced Sept. 10 a proposal to raise the minimum wage statewide. The proposed increase will gradually bring the minimum wage to $15 in New York City by 2018 and statewide by 2021. Unlike industry specific increases, the governor can’t convene a board to institute a statewide increase. He will need approval by the legislature. Republicans, who tend to oppose the $15 minimum wage, hold a majority in the Senate.

If successful, New York could become the first state with a $15 minimum wage. Each side is already mounting an offensive. Supporters argue the $15 minimum wage will help the poor by allowing them to more easily afford basic necessities while critics say it may actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities.

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