Convenience Store News

OCT 2015

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120 Convenience Store News | OCTOBER 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Store Ops + Labor + HR + Real Estate + Financial + Field Ops OPERATIONS O n Sept. 10, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a push to have the Empire State become the first in the country to adopt a $15-per-hour minimum wage for all industries. The proposal came on the same day Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino signed an order making the $15 mark the statewide minimum wage for fast-food workers. Under Cuomo's proposal, which has the backing of Vice President Joseph Biden, the all-industry wage would be phased in to mirror the fast-food wage order, taking full effect by Dec. 31, 2018 in New York City and July 1, 2021 for the rest of New York State. While Cuomo's proposal is still just that, the increase in the fast-food minimum wage is a reality that convenience stores in New York have to face — either directly or indirectly. Included in the final report by the state's Fast Food Wage Board, which was approved and adopted by the state Labor Department, there is a list of some of the establishments that would be subject to the new wage. None of them are convenience stores. However, some of them are branded foodservice establishments that have franchise locations within the four walls of many New York c-stores, and that's where the uncertainty lies, according to Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. "What remains unclear is whether a store that has a Dunkin' Donuts or a Subway inside would have to abide by the fast-food minimum wage and, if so, would they have to abide by [the wage] only at that food counter or throughout the store?" he said. In New York, some convenience stores operate their food franchise locations, while others lease space to independent franchisees, in which case the indepen- dent franchisee and not the c-store operator pays the employees at the food counter. Neither example has been addressed — so far anyway — in the wage order, Calvin explained. Still, the issue of whether that store with a branded food franchise is subject to the fast-food minimum wage may not be as critical to the industry as the indirect impact on convenience stores because c-stores compete with McDonald's for the same labor pool. "Even if no convenience stores under any circum- stances will be covered by the fast-food minimum wage mandate, they all are going to be indirectly impacted, and severely impacted, by the fast-food wage," Calvin pointed out. If McDonald's has to pay its part-time, entry-level workers $15 an hour, the competing convenience store will have to pay a higher rate in order to measure up. "As one of my board members pointed out, even if we're not included, we're included," he said. "While, on the one hand, we are still trying to get clarification about whether the convenience store with a Dunkin' Donuts inside is required to pay the higher fast- food minimum wage, the bigger concern is Minimum Wage, Maximum Concerns As workers and politicians push for pay hikes, c-stores worry about the bottom line By Melissa Kress

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