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Fast-food wage board won't make Saturday deadline for recommendations

The state fast-food wage board met in Albany

The state fast-food wage board met in Albany on June 29, 2015. Members are, from left, Pico Ben-Amotz, state Labor Department staffer; Michael Fishman, of the Service Employees International Union; board chairman Byron Brown, mayor of Buffalo; Kevin Ryan, founder of online retailer,, and Labor Department staffer James Rogers Credit: Newsday / James T. Madore

There will be no pay recommendations for fast-food workers this week from a state wage panel, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The state fast-food wage board had been expected to act by a Saturday deadline. The three-member board was established May 20, with 45 days to study and suggest changes to compensation.

Christopher White, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor, said Wednesday the deadline had been extended by the acting labor commissioner.

White said the wage board will now issue its pay recommendations later this month. The commissioner then will have 45 days to implement them.

The wage board will meet July 13 at 10 a.m. in the department's Manhattan office at 75 Varick St.

"Clearly our charge is to conclude this process, make a recommendation and issue a report in July," Bryon Brown, the board's chairman and mayor of Buffalo, said after a meeting in Albany on Monday.

"I do not think we are going to need another 45 days," he said. "I think there is very good agreement between the three board members. I think that we are close in terms of our thinking on this."

At Monday's meeting the board members -- representing business, labor and government -- said they were in agreement that fast-food workers deserve a raise. They now earn at least the state minimum wage of $8.75 per hour.

The board members said they would provide an incentive for employers to give employees more work hours and predictable schedules because the fast-food workforce is increasingly composed of people age 30 and older instead of students.

The board has said its pay recommendations will be limited to chain restaurants where customers place orders and pay at the counter such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Panera Bread and others.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the establishment of the wage board after it became clear the State Legislature wouldn't approve an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage. Boards have been used in the past to raise the pay of select workers without legislative action under the state constitution.

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