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Wage Board plans Buffalo hearing Friday in City Hall on minimum for fast-food workers

The state Department of Labor will hold a Wage Board hearing in Buffalo on Friday to hear opinions about a proposed increase in the minimum wage for workers in the fast-food industry.

The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in Common Council Chambers on the 13th floor of City Hall.

Speakers can talk for a maximum of five minutes each and are urged, but not required, to prepare their remarks, providing four copies of each.

Those intending to speak or attend can register by phone, 518-457-5519; fax, 1-518-485-1126; email, wageboard@labor.ny.gov; or online, labor.ny.gov/fastfoodwageboard.

Priority in seating and speaking will be given to those who have registered. Those who have not registered will be seated or given speaking time on a first-come, first-served basis.

All attendees must present identification. Translation services are available and can be requested during the registration process.

Testimony can also be mailed to the New York State Department of Labor, Attention: Wage Board, Building 12, Room 586, Harriman State Office Campus, Albany, NY 12240. Mailed entries must be received by June 26.

The minimum wage in New York State is currently $8.75 per hour. Since 2012, fast-food workers have won increases in the minimum wage in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the statewide Wage Board to be convened last month. Its chairmen are Mayor Byron W. Brown; Kevin Ryan, founder of shopping website Gilt; and Mike Fishman, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union.

Brown is tasked with representing the public interest, while Ryan will represent business interests, and Fishman will represent labor.

Hearings have already been held in Buffalo and New York City, with three more planned in Albany, Garden City and, in Manhattan.

Acting Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino issued a determination last month that “a substantial number of fast-food workers in the hospitality industry are receiving wages insufficient to provide adequate maintenance and to protect their health.”

Several elected officials; community, religious and labor groups; as well as fast-food cooks and cashiers from across the state will stage a rally in support of the minimum wage increase in front of City Hall at 9:15 a.m. Friday. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul; State Sens. Marc C. Panepinto and Timothy M. Kennedy, both D-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, are scheduled to attend.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com