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National Restaurant Association - Coalition to 'Save NY Restaurants'

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Coalition to 'Save NY Restaurants'

A group representing New York’s restaurant and business communities is contesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to install a self-appointed wage board to raise the minimum wage of quickservice restaurant employees.

The “Save NY Restaurants” coalition is composed of members from the New York State Restaurant Association, New York Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association. It is highlighting the unfair actions of the board’s effort to increase the wage of fast-food employees, specifically, to $15 an hour.

The coalition has launched www.KeepNYOpen.com to show how the wage board’s actions would negatively impact businesses across the state.

The wage board, composed of Chairman Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo; Mike Fishman, secretary-treasurer of the Services Employees International Union; and Kevin Ryan, chairman and founder of online retailer Gilt, is holding a series of public hearings to determine whether or not to increase the minimum wage. The group met June 5, June 15 and will meet again before making its recommendation.

“This wage-board process has done nothing but marginalize and demonize business owners across the state,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. “Many are intimidated and fear voicing their legitimate concerns to the unelected group that will set regulations for their businesses. The business community collectively asks Gov. Cuomo to recognize that fear and intimidation is not the way to govern. This decision should be fairly debated and rest in the hands of those democratically chosen to lead.”

Dawn Sweeney, the NRA’s president and CEO, said the fact that “there is no representation from the very industry the governor is targeting shows this board has no interest in keeping New York’s restaurants open for business. The governor’s actions are an assault to the hard working men and women who provide jobs and opportunity in every community from Brooklyn to Buffalo, and may be forced to close because of this.”

New research from the Employment Policies Institute found nearly 50 percent of New York fast-food operators surveyed said they’d have to “reduce employees’ hours or staffing levels” due to drastic wage increases, while another 22 percent said they’d be forced to close altogether.

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