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Erie County, largest Upstate County in New York, opposes Minimum Wage Board’s Recommendation of $15 for fast food workers


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.

At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.

Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.

Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.

Today, the Erie County Legislature opposed the recent recommendation of a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers in New York State by the New York Minimum Wage Board. Per the recommendation, rates would be raised incrementally in New York City, reaching $15 by 2018. Statewide, chains with at least 30 locations would be forced to pay employees a wage of $15 an hour by July 2021.The county resolution was approved 6-5.


“Creating a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers puts all small businesses owners at a disadvantage. Targeting one specific industry will have vast implications on the price of goods, cost of living, and access to jobs. Artificially inflating the wages for one industry creates a ripple effect to all small business owners, especially franchisee-owned fast food restaurants. In New York State a majority of fast food restaurants are franchisee-owned, with 45 percent of franchisees owning just one location. This wage increase will force local entrepreneurs to potentially lay off workers or close all together,” said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo.


“As a business owner myself, I understand the effect this decision will have on local businesses. This wage hike will back businesses into a corner, and force owners to make very difficult decisions with regard to their workforce to ensure their companies can survive. This is an irrational proposal that had a predetermined outcome before the board even sat down for the first meeting,” stated Chairman John Mills.


“If we want to have a conversation about raising minimum wage, it should be a discussion about the entire workforce. This recommendation was hastily thrown together by a politically appointed board without insight from those in the actual industry. Unfortunately, this is another effort to bypass the legislative process by people who don’t respect the individuals who are creating jobs,” said Legislator Edward Rath III.


“Businesses in New York State are already overregulated and taxed too high. Arbitrarily boosting wages in a narrow sector of industry creates an unequal playing field. Nurses, teachers, construction workers and other skilled workers should not be discriminated against and that is exactly what this recommendation accomplishes. Evaluating the minimum wage level should be done through the state legislative process so that we have a real opportunity to discuss the positive and negative effects of raising the minimum wage through all labor sectors of New York State,” said Legislator Ted Morton.


In order for the board’s recommendation to become law, it must be approved by New York State Labor Commissioner Mario Musolino. The resolution that passed the Erie County Legislature asks Governor Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner Musolino to reject the board’s recommendations.