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State wage board votes in favor of increasing minimum wage for fast-food workers

AmNews Staff Reports | 7/22/2015, 6:10 p.m.
More than 180,000 fast-food workers in the state are praising the the New York Wage Board after they unanimously vote ...
Young McDonald's workers take a stand for increased minimum wage. Bill Moore

More than 180,000 fast-food workers in the state are praising the New York Wage Board after they unanimously vote to increase the minimum wage to $15.

Reports indicate the minimum wage will go up by the end 2018 in New York City and in the rest of the state by 2021. The final step is the approval by the state wage commissioner, who is expected to approve the increase.

The change is limited to fast-food chains with 30 or more locations. Minimum wage in New York State is currently $8.75. Nationwide it's $7.25.

Fast food workers have been organizing nationally to get more pay voicing that $8.75 wasn't enough to live on. Close to 60 percent of fast food workers receive public assistance and many are working to support families.

Fast-food chains opposed the pay raise saying it would increase operation costs that would be passed on to consumers.

"This is a big deal for the 180,000 fast food workers in this city who will see their wages nearly doubled, this increase was critical," said Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams. "Let's remember, though, that our work isn't finished. We know that the lack of adequate wages is a fundamental problem in struggling communities."

New York Communities for Change executive director Jonathan Westin said that while the increase is a victory for fast-food workers, there are other people still in need of a wage increase.

"Last month, we finally won protection for NY car wash workers against wage theft and unsafe working conditions," he said. "Today fast food workers are closer than ever to winning a living wage. We need $15 for carwashers, nail salon workers, tellers, laundry workers and every single worker that cannot cover their basic needs."