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Fast Food Franchise Owners May Sue State of New York

They are upset over wage hikes for fast food workers.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently raised the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 per hour, and franchise owners are not exactly happy. Many of them are considering suing the state over the decision. In May, Cuomo circumvented lawmakers by convening a panel to look at minimum wages in the fast food industry. The panel recommended this month that $15 per hour is an "adequate" wage for fast food workers, and soon the proposal will be passed on to Cuomo's labor commissioner for approval. According to ABC 7, the governor will have 45 days to act on the recommendation and does not need legislative approval.

NBC writes that the franchise owners who are considering a lawsuit argue that "it is not fair or legal to be saddled with such a significant inquire in legal costs" that will not apply to other industries that traditionally offer low wages. Restaurateur Jack Bert notes: "Singling out fast food restaurants while ignoring other industries that hire workers who are paid under $15 is unfair and discriminatory, harms New York workers, and puts some New York businesses ... at a competitive disadvantage." Randy Mastro, an attorney representing fast food franchises, adds: "This proposal is an irrational and discriminatory race to judgment to achieve a predetermined outcome."

The wage hike, if approved by the labor commission, would apply to fast food workers in restaurant chains that have 30 or more locations, such as Burger King and McDonald's. The new wage hike would be phased in across three years in New York City and across six years in the rest of the state. Currently, the minimum wage in New York is $8.75 per hour.