Fast Food and Tipped Workers in NY Get Big Raises

(ITHACA) Fast food workers in New York State will reap the first benefits of their Fight for $15 activism on January 1st as the minimum wage in the industry rises to $9.75/hour ($10.50 in NY City). This is a $1 or 11 percent increase over 2015. Over 180,000 working families will see this increase in their 1st paychecks of the year. And they will continue to see annual increases as the minimum wage rises in steps to $15 in 2021 (2018 in NY City).

“This is an important step forward that will make a big difference in these workers’ lives and in the lives of their families” stated Pete Meyers, Coordinator of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, “and it shows how important it is for us in Tompkins County to step up our community campaign to make the Living Wage a Minimum Wage for all workers.”

Other wage increases to take effect at midnight in the State include a rise of the minimum wage for all other workers to $9 (from $8.75); an increase of the tipped minimum wage to $7.50 (from $5.00); and an increase in the minimum salary for exempt employees to $675/week.

The $9.75 minimum applies to all fast food restaurants that are part of a chain including 30 or more locations, whether individual owned, franchised or corporate-run. This includes coffee shops, juice bars, donut shops, ice cream parlors, take-out or delivery only establishments, buffet-style restaurants as well as all other establishments where customers order and pay before eating.

Among the affected restaurants in Tompkins County are Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Blimpie, Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs, Five Guys, Jimmy John’s, KFC, McDonalds, Moe’s, Panera, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, Tim Horton, Wendy’s and Yogurtland.

The wage increase was mandated after hundreds of fast food workers from all over the state testified in very compelling and moving ways about their inability to survive and support their families on anything less. Almost 75% are currently paid at the lowest levels recorded by the government and well over half depend on one or more publicly supported social services.

The Workers’ Center is urging all minimum or tipped wage workers to review their first paychecks closely and to contact the Workers’ Center at 607-269-0409 or if there are issues or questions. The NYS Department of Labor can be contacted at 1-888-469-7365 or