Responding to the Governor’s directive, Acting State Labor Commission Mario J. Musolino has empaneled a Wage Board to recommend a minimum wage increase for the fast food industry. Commissioner Musolino issued a determination regarding the inadequacy of the current minimum wage which states, “I am of the opinion that a substantial number of fast food workers in the hospitality industry are receiving wages insufficient to provide adequate maintenance and to protect their health. When I refer to fast food workers, I mean those workers who prepare food and serve customers in limited service restaurants, where customers order at the counter and pay in advance.” The determination cites to certain statistics the Commissioner believes accurately reflect the economic circumstances of such workers.

The schedule disseminated by the NYSDOL calls for the requisite hearing to be completed by late June. New York State Restaurant Association President Melissa Fleischut opined in response to the schedule, “Important policy decisions deserve substantial discussions, not a rushed process by unelected citizens,” referring to the fact that the Department has allotted fewer than 45 days for consideration of the issues by the Wage Board, an appointed body. The members of the Wage Board are Mayor of Buffalo Byron Brown, Secretary-Treasuer of the SEIU Mike Fishman and Kevin Ryan, Chairman of Gilt.