State Board Upholds New York $15 Fast Food Minimum Wage Plan

A New York State oversight board has rejected a challenge to a wage order issued by the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo establishing a phased-in plan for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. The Industrial Board of Appeals this week upheld the $15 fast food wage plan over an objection filed by the National Restaurant Association seeking to block its implementation.

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The industry lobbying group is now expected to go to court to file a lawsuit in another attempt to stop the state’s wage order from going forward.

In September, Governor Cuomo’s acting labor commissioner issued a wage order implementing a set of recommendations approved by a special fast food wage board in July. The order establishes a dual track process by which a minimum wage of $15 per hour will be phased in statewide over the next several years for workers at fast food chains with thirty or more restaurants in the U.S., starting on December 31 of this year, with annual increases implemented according to the following schedules for workers in New York City and elsewhere throughout the state:

For New York City

  • $10.50 on December 31, 2015
  • $12.00 on December 31, 2016
  • $13.50 on December 31, 2017
  • $15.00 on December 31, 2018

For the rest of New York State

  • $9.75 on December 31, 2015
  • $10.75 on December 31, 2016
  • $11.75 on December 31, 2017
  • $12.75 on December 31, 2018
  • $13.75 on December 31, 2019
  • $14.50 on December 31, 2020
  • $15.00 on July 1, 2021

Fast food workers in New York City were the first to raise the call for a $15 minimum wage three years ago, with strikes and protests that launched the Fight for $15 campaign in the nation’s largest city. That effort spread rapidly to other cities and worker groups and is now a nationwide movement.

In New York, Governor Cuomo recently announced that the fast food $15 wage plan will also be implemented for all state government workers, and he is campaigning to make the state the first in the nation to adopt a statewide $15 minimum wage.

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