On Wednesday, July 22, three labor board members, appointed by Governor Cuomo, decided it is a good idea to nearly double the minimum wage paid to fast food workers in New York State, but only to some of them.
Great idea, geniuses.
I am so bewildered with this decision that I am not even sure where to begin.
First, how do you isolate a wage increase to a specific industry, with specific benchmarks within the industry? If you haven’t heard, the increase only applies to pay-in-advance eateries with at least 30 or more units nationally. The wages apply to workers who: cook, clean, serve customers, do deliveries or routine maintenance.
So if you mop the floors at National Burger, you are all set. But if you are the night supervisor working to get ahead at Sal’s Pizzeria, you are out of luck. However, if you are an 18-year-old high school dropout, you hit the jackpot. You just got yourself a $31k a year job working the fryer!
Does this make any sense? Of course not. But this isn’t how it will work anyway. Positions will be eliminated, stores will close and menu prices will increase substantially. If you thought service at the drive-thru was bad before, wait until the staff is slashed and overworked. Don’t expect the side of fries you ordered with your meal!
The economic ripple effects of this decision are mind-boggling. But I wouldn’t expect bureaucrats in Albany to understand that. After all, it isn’t their money or their business that may fail. They sit at their cushy desks with lifetime benefits, compliments of our tax dollars.
I am trying to figure out how they came up with a 72 percent increase ($8.75 to $15). I think I have two realistic theories; either they threw darts at a calendar; or, more likely, one of them said to the other “close your eyes and think of a number from 10-20.”
What sane person thinks fast food workers should make more than our combat soldiers; our daycare workers; our special needs care providers; our certified nursing assistants; or any of the hundred thousand college graduates who are starting their careers at a lower rate?
The only logical assumption I can make is these people aren’t sane. Either that or they have absolutely zero financial acumen or real world experience.
Hopefully, acting Labor Commissioner Mario Muslino will stop this when it reaches his desk, or at least make it a sensible increase. But I am not holding my breath. This is New York State after all.