New York’s fast food wage is officially going up to a $15 minimum wage. While New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been celebrating the decision made by New York’s Wage Board, some say paying fast food workers $15 an hour may not be the best the idea for the entire state.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, a company that set a $70,000 minimum wage is now struggling to stay afloat. A Texas paramedic made waves on social media with a post about New York’s fast food wage, where he argued that everyone deserves a living wage whether they be skilled paramedics or burger flippers.
When governor Cuomo spoke about New York’s fast food wage, he made a similar argument about a living wage.
“If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty—plain and simple,” said Cuomo, according to the NY governor’s website. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will add fairness to our economy and bring dignity and respect to 2.2 million people, many of whom have been forced to live in poverty for too long…We will overcome the skeptics and demonstrate to the American people that we can make this a better place because New York is the state of possibility. We can restore hope and opportunity, and we will do it with a $15 minimum wage that ensures economic justice for all.”
The $15 minimum wage will be phased in over time, but New York’s fast food wage will be the first to be affected by the decision. However, the new policy is highly controversial, with some arguing that businesses will be hurt or that unemployment could rise.
This debate is still being waged in Seattle, Washington, another location that passed a $15 minimum wage. According to My Northwest, University of Washington Professor Jacob Vigdor has been monitoring the transition to a higher minimum wage and he claims the “studies that are out there on the minimum wage do not come to any consensus.” Vigdor says he has talked to businesses that are adapting to the change, but he also “found quite a few others who are raising prices and we’ve heard from business owners who are cutting back on staffing, they are cutting back their operating hours.”
“What’s happening to benefits? What’s happening to prices? What’s happening to the workers enjoying this higher income? How much of that income is being eaten up by higher prices? How much of that is being offset because these workers are no longer eligible for things like food stamps?” Vigdor said. “As [employees’] income goes up, most of those extra dollars are being eaten up by reductions in their benefits. So there are some workers in that category, but there are others who are not and that’s why we are trying to follow as many as we can, individually, to see which story is actually the more common story.”
The same type of questions apply to New York’s fast food wage. According to Forbes, the bad outcomes may outweigh the good outcomes depending on where you live in New York state. They note that the median wage can vary wildly depending on the city within New York state, which may make New York’s fast food wage a “seriously bad idea.”
In order to drive this point home, they cite studies where higher minimum wages can result in higher wages for the workforce but at the cost of higher unemployment. Forbes claims that New York state is “really rather bad place to try to have a higher state wide minimum” because “the difference in wage levels between the old industrial north of the state and the currently much richer south is so wide.”
What do you think about New York’s fast food wage? Do you think a burger flipper deserves a $15 minimum wage?
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