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Raise for fast-food workers on the table at Long Island hearing

Dozens of fast-food workers and their supporters protest

Dozens of fast-food workers and their supporters protest workplace conditions during a demonstration March 17, 2015, outside a McDonald's in Manhattan. Credit: AP

A raise for fast-food workers will be on the table at a public hearing on Long Island next month.

The state wage board considering whether to recommend higher salaries for the workers will hold the hearing on the Island in mid-June, officials said. More details are expected Wednesday after the board's organizational meeting in Manhattan.

In addition to the Island hearing, there will be one in New York City and two upstate.

The board will take testimony next month from proponents and opponents of a raise for employees of McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway and other fast-food restaurants.

It also will be closely watched by both sides in the national debate over raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current $7.25. New York's minimum wage is $8.75.

The board is led by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Other members are Kevin Ryan, the founder of online retailer, representing business, and Mike Fishman, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, representing workers.

Wednesday's organizational meeting will be at 11 a.m. at 75 Varick St. in Manhattan.

The Island session will be held the week of June 15, officials said. The New York City hearing will be held the week of June 8.

Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the state's acting labor commissioner, Mario J. Musolino, to establish the wage board.

"The minimum wage is supposed to be a wage that allows people who work full time to earn a decent living and provide for their family, but for too many fast-food workers that is simply not the case," Cuomo said last week.

A separate board in January recommended the base pay for waiters and other workers who receive tips be raised to $7.50 per hour from the $4.90-$5.65 rates set in 2011. The labor commissioner approved that recommendation, effective Dec. 31, over the objection of the board's business representative.

Cuomo and some of his predecessors have used wage boards to boost the earnings of selected workers when the State Legislature hasn't agreed on raising the minimum wage.

The state's minimum wage will rise to $9 at year-end as the final part of a three-step increase approved by lawmakers in 2013.

The State Senate's Republican majority has opposed calls for another wage raise while the current one is still being implemented.

Testimony on fast-food pay can be offered by anyone and is due to the state wage board by June 26. Written materials may be submitted to wage

The board is expected to issue its recommendations in July.

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