Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — August 17, 2015

Business Council releases Wage Board objections and recommendations
Comments highlight problems with board’s process and methodology

ALBANY, N.Y.—On July 22, 2015 a three-member wage board, empaneled by the New York State Department of Labor at the request of the governor, recommended a minimum wage of $15 an hour for all fast food workers in New York State.

The board recommended the wage be phased in at a different schedule in different parts of the state, reaching $15 an hour by December of 2018 in New York City, and by July of 2021 for the rest of the state.

The Business Council of New York State, Inc. has objected to this process from the beginning and last week submitted the below comments to the NYS Department of Labor.

Highlights include:

RE: The improper impaneling of the wage board.
“We do not believe any of the three wage board members was drawn from a pool of fast food industry nominations. In addition to meeting the specific requirement of the Labor Law, having a board member with actual experience operating in this business sector would have brought valuable knowledge and an important perspective to the board’s investigation and deliberations. Without such an appointment, it seems that this wage board was improperly impaneled.”

RE: The impact on employers and jobs.
“Without a more thorough consideration of the operating costs and profits of the vast majority of fast food establishments that are franchisee owned, it is not possible for the board to reach a meaningful conclusion on the impact of its proposal on fast food establishments and job opportunities within such businesses.”

RE: The scope of employment covered.
“We have several concerns regarding this proposal: first, this recommendation goes well beyond the wage board’s assigned purpose. Second, it belies the wage board’s assertions that their wage proposal will not have a significant impact on jobs, hours or wages available to current employees. Third, it would apply even in instances where such functions are already performed by third parties. In such cases, where cleaning and “routine maintenance” are performed under contract by a third party, it is unclear what the fast food business would be required to do under this wage proposal.”

RE: Establishments covered.
“It is unclear how this wage recommendation applies where an establishment’s business includes some fast-food type activities, but where such activities are not the predominant purpose of that establishment. We strongly recommend that any final wage order make clear that such circumstances are not subject to this wage order.”


Full submission

These objections and recommendations related to the fast food wage board’s final report are submitted on behalf of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Respectfully submitted by:

Ken Pokalsky
Vice President
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
111 Washington Avenue, Suite 400
Albany, New York 12210
O: 518.465.7511 x 205
C: 518.339.5894