Last updated on July 18th, 2015 at 10:27 am
The New York Association of Convenience Stores is speculating that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Fast Food Wage Board” is heading toward a recommendation that fast-food workers be paid a minimum of $15 an hour—71 percent more than the existing statutory minimum wage of $8.75.
According to Jim Calvin, NYACS president, food service-oriented convenience stores are growing concerned that the board might try to apply the mandate to them. The board’s recommendations are due by the end of July.
Cuomo had his labor commissioner appoint the wage board, allowing him to bypass the legislative process and administratively impose a higher minimum wage for a specific industry deemed to be “woefully underpaid.”
NYACS has filed testimony with the wage board making the following main points:
- Any minimum wage increase the board may impose will backfire in the form of layoffs, reduced hours and benefits, and higher prices. Due to percentage-based mandatory state and federal payroll taxes, if the fast-food minimum were increased from $8.75 to $15, the $6.25 wage jump would actually translate to a $7.48-per-hour increase in payroll costs.
- Convenience stores that offer food service as part of their business should not be treated as “fast food” establishments by the wage board since they are not restaurants. The 2014 “State of the Industry” report published by the National Association of Convenience Stores indicates that food service represents 19.4 percent of total sales inside the typical c-store.
Calvin said because convenience store food service programs take many forms, the wage board would be opening a can of worms if it seeks to subject c-stores to whatever higher “fast food” wage minimum it recommends.
“Some have a branded program such as Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Horton’s inside the store. Would the wage board consider those fast food restaurants?” Calvin asked. “Even if they are operated by the convenience store itself rather than leased to the branded food purveyor? And if the convenience store were required to pay employees preparing and serving food the higher ‘fast food’ minimum wage, would the store also have to pay the rest of its employees that higher wage? What about employees who work at the food counter some of the time and in other parts of the store the rest of the time—would they be subject to two different minimum wage levels?”