A restaurant group is seeking to void the state Department of Labor's order raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 per hour by 2021.
The National Restaurant Association is asking the state Industrial Board of Appeals to "set aside" the acting labor commissioner's September decision, saying it was "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law."
The wage raise doesn't affect all fast-food employees, only those who work for chain restaurants with at least 30 locations across the country. About 24,000 people on Long Island would be affected.
The Washington-based association accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration of singling out national fast-food chains, and not having them represented on the three-member wage board that recommended an hourly minimum of $15.
In a 26-page filing, association attorney Randy Mastro said the wage board and Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino's actions were "thinly veiled attempts by Governor Cuomo and his appointees to maneuver around an unwilling [state] legislature and to enact their own policy choices."
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said Monday, "the governor's action will help lift more than 200,000 New Yorkers out of poverty and ends the backdoor corporate welfare that rewards fast food companies for paying sub-poverty wages. It's unfortunate, but not surprising that these same corporations will be fighting to protect the status quo."
Cuomo, in calling for the establishment of the fast-food wage board and more recently an increase in the state minimum wage, decried the reliance on food stamps and other public assistance by low-wage workers.
The state minimum wage is $8.75 per hour and is set to increase to $9 on Dec. 31. The Republican-majority in the state Senate opposed Cuomo's call earlier this year for another hike.
The appeals board consists of five members appointed by Cuomo and confirmed by the Senate.
Board chairperson Vilda Vera Mayuga said Monday the board would hold a hearing before ruling.
Angelo Amador, the association's regulatory counsel, said the appeal must be decided by Dec. 10.
"We are prepared to go to the New York courts if we have to," he said.
The association, in its filing, said the labor commissioner broke state law by directing the wage board to focus on a limited class of employers instead of an occupation or industry. The association also said New York State was undermining interstate commerce, a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Amador said, "The governor may think that he's going after big corporations but he's having a negative impact on small-business owners, the job creators in the states who are trying to keep the economy going."