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National Restaurant Association - Restaurateurs want governor to explain wage mandate

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Restaurateurs want governor to explain wage mandate

Restaurateurs representing thousands of restaurant locations throughout New York State have asked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to meet with them to explain his controversial decision to target the state’s quickservice restaurants for a minimum wage increase.

The operators made their request in a June 26 letter to the governor. In it, they criticized Cuomo for “unfairly and arbitrarily” targeting quickservice restaurants by appointing a “wage board” to recommend a minimum wage increase solely for the quickservice sector.

The costs of the mandate, they wrote, could force operators to consider automating certain job functions, rethink hiring decisions and cancel plans for expansion. Some restaurants may be forced to close as a result, they wrote.

“If you are truly serious about addressing income inequality, we ask that you think carefully about your decisions, which could hurt hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” the operators wrote. “Sit down with us, learn about our business models and see how restaurant owners and operators are employing New Yorkers across our state, fostering growth in each of our communities and providing training, upward mobility and opportunity to thousands of employees each day.”

No restaurateurs were selected to serve on the three-member wage board, which is composed of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Mike Fishman, secretary-treasurer of the Services Employees International Union, and Kevin Ryan, chairman and founder of online retailer Gilt. The board has held four public hearings. While the board hasn’t proposed an amount for the wage increase, union and other demonstrators have called for a $15 minimum wage.

The New York State Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association have been vocal opponents of the effort to impose an extreme wage increase on the state’s quickservice restaurant operators. They’re partners in the Save New York Restaurants Coalition, which recently released a video showing who’s behind the push for a $15 minimum wage, and how the proposal flies in the face of Cuomo’s pledge to keep New York “open for business.

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