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News & Press: Industry News

Press Release: NY Employer Community Launches "Save NY Restaurants" Coalition

Monday, June 15, 2015  
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Coalition Formed in Response to Governor Cuomo’s Self-Appointed Wage Board Targeting New York Restaurants. View more at



(Albany, NY) Today, groups representing New York’s restaurant and business communities, which employ hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers across the state, launched the “Save NY Restaurants” Coalition. The Coalition is contesting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to unilaterally instate a self-appointed wage board that targets fast food restaurants. Members including the New York State Restaurant Association, New York Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association, are highlighting the unfair actions of Governor Cuomo’s wage board which has left the restaurant industry voiceless.

“This wage board process has done nothing but marginalize and demonize business owners across the state. Many are intimidated and fear voicing their legitimate concerns to the unelected group that will set regulations for their businesses. Today the business community collectively asks Governor Cuomo to recognize that fear and intimidation is not the way to govern. This decision should be fairly debated and rest in the hands of those that have been democratically chosen to lead,” said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association.

"This entire effort undermines any of the half-hearted attempts by this administration to help small employers. From the Governor's complete disregard of the legislative process to the failure to recognize that many ’fast food’ restaurants are in fact independent small businesses, the message is seemingly clear how this will play out. The preordained outcome by this wage board will increase the minimum wage and ultimately will stifle job creation while shuttering small businesses all across New York," said Mike Durant, NFIB/NY State Director.

“New York State, particularly Upstate, is already an extremely difficult place to start and grow a successful business. Employers contend with stifling regulatory burdens, sky high property and income taxes, and an ever shrinking consumer base. The Department of Labor’s wage board is just another end-around assault on New York’s small businesses and the latest example of the Empire State’s hostility towards employers. Restaurants comprise the fabric of Main Street economies from Buffalo to Binghamton and Unshackle Upstate is proud to stand with these vital contributors to the Upstate economy," said Greg Biryla, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate.

“The Coalition to Save New York Restaurants will aggressively fight Governor Cuomo’s politically-motivated decision to discriminate against local franchise small business owners for a wage hike, simply to satisfy the request of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Governor should heed the common-sense example of Mayor Emanuel of Chicago who listened to small business franchisees’ concerns about unfair treatment and acknowledged that they face the same challenges as other independent, small businesses. If Governor Cuomo wishes to advance a wage increase, it should cover all of New York’s businesses, not just a select few,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira.

“Governor Cuomo’s decision to circumvent the representatives elected by the people of New York and target hard working restaurant owners and operators is arbitrary and discriminatory. The fact that there is no representation from the very industry the Governor is targeting shows that this board has no interest in keeping New York’s restaurants open for business. The Governor’s actions are an assault to the hard working men and women that provide jobs and opportunity in every community from Brooklyn to Buffalo; businesses that may be forced to close because of irresponsible actions,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

The Coalition has launched the website to highlight the impact a drastic wage increase will have to New York’s restaurants. Additionally, “Save NY Restaurants” has launched a digital ad campaign which launches today across New York and draws attention to the negative impact the wage board’s actions could have to businesses across the state.

New research by the Employment Policies Institute of nearly 1,000 New York fast food operators found that nearly 50 percent said they’d be forced to “reduce employees’ hours or staffing levels” due to drastic wage increases, while another 22 percent said they would be forced to close their doors altogether. Seventy percent said they likely would have to raise their prices to meet the proposed wage requirements, which would hurt their businesses.

To learn more about the coalition visit

About Save NY Restaurants
The “Save NY Restaurants” Coalition represents thousands of businesses across New York State through its memberships. The Coalition’s goal is to showcase the arbitrary way in which Governor Cuomo has worked around the state legislature to enact a self-appointed wage board without any representation from the restaurant industry. The actions of the wage board could have a devastating impact on restaurants and businesses across the State. The coalition is asking Governor Cuomo and the members of the wage board to include owners and operators in their decision making process.

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