The Wall Street Journal reports that, on Wednesday, as predicted, the panel convened by Governor Cuomo to study fast-food wages will formally recommend paying workers statewide $15 an hour — a substantial raise that’s nearly double the current rate of $8.75. The only step left is an okay from Acting Labor Commissioner Mario Musolino (which he’s expected to give), and then Cuomo can move forward (which there’s every indication he will) regardless of how the Legislature feels about it. So it looks likely that a big raise will come to New York’s fast-food workers.
…Briefly. Because the actual minimum wage is zero. Seriously, the franchisees are screwed*. So is anybody who gets defined as being ‘fast-food.’ But you know who will benefit? Fast-food restaurants that are directly owned by a corporation or family, which means that they are more likely to be able to open up new stores with the automation already built-in. Because the only reason that we don’t see more automation now is because it’s still cheaper to use human beings. Make human beings more expensive, and, well…
*The WSJ got a please-don’t-call-me-a-progressive economist to argue that “The industry likely could accommodate the higher wage, he said, with prices and sales increasing only at their current rate, since the new wage likely would help reduce costly turnover and boost productivity.” Because doubling somebody’s pay encourages them do twice as much work. …And I am Marie of Romania.