New Wage Proposal in NYC

New York City Democrats have an interesting new wage proposal. They recently failed at state legislation allowing New York City to set its own minimum wage. Several cities across the nation have successfully established wage setting authority for large cities where the cost of living is drastically different than in non-metropolitan areas of the state. The proposed New York City $15 per hour wage would not apply to manufacturers, rather, would focus on the retail industry.

The latest proposal is to set a different minimum wage for employees of companies with annual sales over $50 million and at least 11 retail stores in the US. The targeted companies are those that typically do not pay a live-able wage: retail stores, restaurants and businesses at airports, bus terminals and other transportation related businesses.

It is no secret that the target is Big Box and chain stores like Walmart and Target, as well as fast food eateries and other franchise retailers.

Proponents argue two benefits: The Big Box retailers are in a position to afford the increased labor costs. If the Big Box retailers responded with higher prices, this would give small businesses a better chance to compete. Big Box retailers would have less chance of closing Mom and Pop and Main Street shops.

Opponents argue that most franchise stores are not corporate owned, rather, are small family owned businesses with narrow profit margins. These measures would have unintended consequences on small businesses bearing nationally known brands.

What do you think about this radical proposal to raise minimum wage for big retail businesses in the Big Apple?