Appeals Board Upholds Minimum Wage Hike To $15

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For Fast Food Workers

The state Industrial Board of Appeals has upheld the planned increase to a $15 minimum wage for the state’s fast food workers.

“No one who works hard should ever be condemned to a life of poverty and that’s why we are continuing the fight today,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called for a wage board to consider increasing the pay for fast food workers earlier this year. “We will not stop until we ensure a new standard of economic justice for all workers – and when New York acts, the rest of the nation follows.”

The IBA shot down the National Restaurant Association’s arguments that internet entrepreneur Kevin Ryan was not an appropriate employer representative on the wage board and, more broadly, that the wage order is contrary to law “because the wage board … did not adequately analyze the statutory factors for when to raise the minimum wage.”

The decision states that the IBA was limited to determining whether the wage board statute was complied with and did not have the authority to question policy decisions reached by the wage board.

The decision also shoots down arguments that the minimum wage order violates separation of powers and is unconstitutional.

“We are extremely disappointed by the Industrial Board of Appeals’ decision to uphold the actions of Governor Cuomo’s wage board which targets the hardworking men and women who own and operate New York’s restaurants,” National Restaurant Association spokeswoman Christin Fernandez said in a statement. “The board’s decision today says loud and clear New York is NOT open for business. We are committed to helping the restaurant community continue to grow and create jobs across the state and plan to take legal action against this arbitrary mandate which is contrary to law.”

The National Restaurant Association plans to take additional legal action, Fernandez said.

The wage order calls for stepped increases to $15 an hour for all fast food workers statewide by mid-2021. The increase will be sped up for New York City, where the wage will hit $15 at the end of 2018.

Following this summer’s Fast Food Wage Board decision, Cuomo has pitched a $15 minimum wage for all workers. That’s expected to be a top policy push heading into state budget negotiations in March.

The governor also has decreed that state workers will be paid $15 an hour minimum. That hike is planned to happen using the same time schedule as the fast food wage increase.

The full decision is below:

Industrial Board of Appeals Fast Food Wage decision