Ortt says ‘blatant government overreach’ with wage hike for fast food workers

Staff Reports Posted 23 July 2015 at 12:00 am

A plan to raise fast food workers’ pay to a $15 minimum per hour is opposed by State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda.

The state Wage Board on Wednesday said the minimum wage for fast food workers would increase gradually over three years in New York City and six years for the rest of the state. It would apply to employees at any fast-food restaurant with 30 or more locations, impacting an estimated 200,000 workers.

“You cannot live and support a family on $18,000 a year in the state of New York period,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “This is just the beginning. We will not stop until we reach true economic justice.”

Ortt issued this statement regarding the minimum wage increase for employees of fast-food restaurants.

“The Governor’s minimum wage hike is blatant government overreach that shows a clear disregard for the private sector and democratic separation of powers,” Ortt said. “The state is in the midst of a gradual minimum wage increase from $8.75 to $9.00 an hour, but now unelected officials in Albany are mandating a further phase-in of up to $15 for a specific industry.

“This will have negative ripple effects across all sectors – from hard-working non-profit workers, to mom-and-pop shops, to our family farms. Anyone with an understanding of the economy realizes that while the Governor’s plan is masked as an effort to force large companies to increase their wages, it will actually help major corporations by luring employees from small businesses that operate on the margins.

“Our focus should be on creating a strong economy that allows transition from low-wage, first-time jobs to solid careers that pay well beyond the minimum wage. It’s disappointing to see the Governor follow the failed leadership qualities of our President, who bypasses legislative compromise and acts unilaterally to push partisan political issues.”

The New York State Restaurant Association issued this statement following the Wage Board’s announcement on Wednesday:

“From day one Governor Cuomo’s Wage Board has sought to silence the business community and force through an unfair and discriminatory increase on a single sector of one industry,” said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association. “From stacking the board with supporters of an increase to allowing business owners to get booed and heckled at public hearings the Governor has rigged the game at every turn. Since the Governor used a process that rejects compromise the result is an extremist policy that will force business owners in this low profit margin industry to cut hours, lay off employees and use technology to help offset skyrocketing labor costs.”