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Fast-food wage board postpones meeting on increasing pay

Members of the NYC Fast-Food Workers' Campaign rally

Members of the NYC Fast-Food Workers' Campaign rally on June 18, 2015, at Nassau Community College in Garden City where the state fast-food wage board was holding a hearing on wages on Long Island. Credit: Barry Sloan

The state fast-food wage board has postponed a meeting to discuss its recommendations to increase the minimum wage for workers in the fast food industry.

The meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, will be held on July 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Department of Health, 90 Church St. in Manhattan. The meeting was postponed due to a scheduling conflict, officials said.

The three board members -- representing business, labor and government -- have previously said they were in agreement that fast-food workers deserve a raise because the workforce is increasingly composed of people age 30 and older instead of students. Labor advocates have called for an hourly wage rate of $15, an increase from the state minimum wage of $8.75 per hour.

More than 24,000 fast-food workers live on Long Island and earned an average $16,363 last year, according to data from the state Department of Labor.

The wage board had been expected to act by a July 4 deadline, but that deadline had been extended by the acting labor commissioner. The board was established May 20, with 45 days to study and suggest changes to compensation.

The board has said its pay recommendations would be limited to chain restaurants where customers place orders and pay at the counter such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Panera Bread and others. Once the recommendations have been made, the commissioner would have 45 days to implement them.

The board held four public hearings in June during which fast-food workers testified about their economic struggles, and some businesses have said that a raise would impose hardships on them.

The upcoming meeting is open to the public and will be webcast, but no public testimony will be taken. For more information, go to labor.ny.gov/fastfoodwageboard.

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