Last week, Unshackle Upstate wrote to the state Labor Commissioner and urged him to reject the recommendations of the Fast Food Wage Board regarding increasing the minimum wage in the fast food industry to $15.00 per hour by 2018 in New York City and 2021 statewide.

We believe that the state’s move to increase wages in the fast food industry will have a number of negative impacts, both directly and indirectly. We expect that fast food business owners will take steps to limit the impact of this new wage mandate, including reduce the number of people they employ, reducing employee hours, raising prices, and – a worst-case scenario – closing their businesses.

Other impacts — indirect ones – that we expect to see are other small businesses being forced to increase their wages to hire and retain employees. Construction, hotel and hospitality services, healthcare and home health services, retail and essential service industry employers, and non-fast food restaurants would likely all be forced to raise wages and prices as a result of competition with the fast-food sector.

While advocates for higher fast food industry wages have turned this into a “cause,” we think it will adversely impact the already struggling Upstate economy. We hope that the Labor Commissioner will understand this.