Cuomo’s Fast Food Flop: Times Square Billboard Criticizes Minimum Wage

Highlights consequences of $30,000 annual minimum wage
  • Publication Date: August 2015

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

Washington D.C. — Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) announced a new billboard going up in the heart of Times Square calling out Gov. Cuomo’s $15 minimum wage for fast food employees. The ad, which can be found on Broadway south of W 46th St., is part of EPI’s new digital and print advertising campaign called “Fast Food Flop” that highlights the unfairness and consequences of the dramatic wage hike.

The ad portrays a young employee asking, “What? I get $30,000 a year with no experience or skills?” The text at the bottom reads, “Who needs an education or hard work when Gov. Cuomo is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

View the high-res image of the ad here. View a photo of the actual billboard here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a first-line food industry supervisor in New York State is $16.02, only negligibly higher than the new minimum wage of the entry-level employees they’ll be supervising.  Not surprisingly, in a survey this summer of 301 employees* who earn $12-$15 an hour, 46 percent opposed a law that would require entry-level employees to be paid the same wage that they earn. Over 90 percent of respondents expected to be paid more if such a law were to take effect.

These salary expectations by higher-paid employees magnify the already immense costs of the Governor’s $15 wage mandate. A survey of nearly 1,000 New York fast food businesses released by EPI earlier this year found that a $15 minimum wage would cause fast food employers to reduce staffing levels and even shut down, as they scramble to offset higher labor costs when customers won’t pay for it through higher prices.

“A $30,000 annual minimum wage isn’t just a job-killer — it’s a slap in the face to experienced employees who have climbed the career ladder through hard work to achieve such compensation,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute. “Rather than extolling these values Gov. Cuomo is telling New Yorkers that when it comes to earning $30,000 a year, no skills and no education is no problem.”