New York Restaurants File Objections to $15 Fast-Food Wage

ALBANY (AP) -

Fast-food franchise owners in the state, in a prelude to a possible lawsuit, have filed objections to a proposal to raise the minimum wage of their workers to $15 an hour.

The increase, from the current $8.75 an hour, was endorsed last month by a state Wage Board and would be phased in over the next six years, starting with an increase at the end of this year. The increase now awaits approval by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s labor commissioner. Cuomo supports the increase, so its approval is considered a certainty.

In a letter, a lawyer for the National Restaurant Association argues the increase unfairly applies to only national chain restaurants and infringes on the Legislature’s authority to pass minimum-wage increases. The letter also notes that the three-member Wage Board had no representative from the fast-food industry.

Attorney Randy Mastro wrote that the increase would “improperly target only a sliver of a segment of a single industry, without support in data, logic or law” and would be “arbitrary, capricious, irrational, unreasonable, invalid and contrary to law.”

The increase will impact an estimated 200,000 workers and applies to restaurants with 30 or more locations.