Restaurants

NYC Bill Would Outlaw Unfair Terminations in the Fast Food Industry

The proposal comes as restaurants struggle with the city's new $15 minimum wage.

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Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS/Newscom

In recent years, the Big Apple's fast food industry has trailblazed for employee protections and higher wages, particularly as the driving force behind the "Fight for 15." It's a battle they won with the passage of New York's $15 minimum wage law. Now they're setting their sights on eliminating unfair firings.

"Workers have told me they've been fired for no reason at all," Democratic City Councilman Brad Lander, who introduced a bill to ban the practice in the fast food industry, told The Guardian. "Should employers have the right to fire people for any reason, including the most trivial reasons? Most people would say that's not a right people should have."

Proponents say that, in dismissing employees, fast-casual restauranteurs should need to show "just cause"—that is, proof of serious misconduct. But what compromises that misconduct is somewhat ambiguous. Under Lander's legislation, workers will be able to appeal firings via arbitration, a complaint to the Department of Consumer Affairs, or with a lawsuit.

Ironically, some of those terminations are likely the result of the movement's last legislative victory, with restaurants purging jobs in the wake of the city's minimum wage hike. Fifty-three percent of New York's "limited service" establishments—otherwise known as fast-casual spots—plan to eliminate positions this year in response to the wage increase, according to a survey by the New York Hospitality Alliance. That comes after 50 percent did so in 2018.

"There's a misperception about the profitability of restaurants in general," Chris Westcott, CEO of Rosa Mexicano, tells Eater NY. "Everyone thinks we're rolling in it. And it's tight. There's a limit to what we can spend."

Westcott isn't wrong: The restaurant industry operates on slim profit margins, which peak around 4 percent, according to the financial information company Sageworks. So significant hikes to the minimum wage often necessitate staff reductions, as businesses struggle under the weight of increased labor costs. But employers may find themselves in a costly arbitration process for terminating employees they can't afford to keep, according to Michael Lotito, a labor attorney who represents the restaurant industry.

"I don't know how a small business owner would be able to survive in the circumstances of that bill," he tells Reason. While layoffs for economic reasons are hypothetically permitted under "just cause," there is quite a bit of uncertainty as to how the law would work in practice—meaning cash-strapped franchise owners could be susceptible to lawsuits for making bottom-line business decisions.

"It is that fear that will inhibit job growth, job expansion," Lotito says. That's especially true if its sister bill also passes, championed by Democratic councilmember Adrienne Adams: It would require that all staff layoffs be made in order of seniority, regardless of employee performance. "What you'll wind up doing is just buying everybody out, because it's going to be too expensive to arbitrate everything," Lotito predicts.

Employing people will be so expensive, he says, that many business owners will likely pivot to automation. Fast food employees are particularly vulnerable to advances in technology, as more than 70 percent of their tasks are easily automatable, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. McDonald's, Panera, and KFC have already started integrating self-service kiosks, a trend that would snowball if employers feared a stream of lawsuits.

The National Restaurant Association echoes those sentiments. "Imposing burdensome and discriminatory legislation that only targets quick-service operators would greatly impact operations of New York City restaurants, making it harder for New Yorkers to pursue a rewarding career in the industry," a spokesperson for the group tells Reason.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of limited service establishments plan to cut hours this year in response to increasing labor costs, according to the New York Hospitality Alliance survey. But if Lander's proposal passes, they'll be restricted from doing that too. The bill prohibits fast-casual businesses from reducing an employee's hours by 15 percent or more unless they can furnish an acceptable excuse.

While the bill is an unprecedented move, New York restaurants are no strangers to city micromanagement. A law passed in 2017 that set rules on how employers can schedule staff is costing companies "thousands of dollars a pay period" in fines, according to Lotito, because the rules are "impossible to comply with."

In that vein, the unfair firings bill is just the latest in a long line of bad ideas, the totality of which will likely force many small business owners to leave the Big Apple entirely. "It's not just this one statute," says Lotito. "It's the chorus of statutes. It's the message that's being sent, that we are more progressive than other cities—and if you don't like it, you can leave."

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  1. Does yelling at a customer that you’re going to kick 100% of his ass constitute serious misconduct? Asking for a friend.

    1. Classic.

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    2. You will start to know when it’s time to quit because the hot chick in the car will laugh at your uniform.

      1. LOL even now I couldn’t stand to have Nancy Wilson laugh at me.

    3. Between Clerks, Fast Times, Half Baked, and about a half dozen other movies I think preventing unruly fast food workers from being fired is going to hit (stoner) Hollywood the hardest.

      No more getting fed up, quitting your loser job and ensuing hilarity or a make-or-break adventure. It’ll all be ‘Lost Ark’ movies where the Nazis end up with their face melted whether the hero gets off the couch or not.

  2. “”There’s a misperception about the profitability of restaurants in general,” Chris Westcott, CEO of Rosa Mexicano,””

    I dare say there is a misperception about profitability in general.

    1. I seem to recall Hillary responding to complaints that small businesses couldn’t afford to offer their employees medical insurance with the off-hand remark that businesses that couldn’t afford to give their employees medical insurance were lousy businesses and deserved to go out of business. Hillary, of course, is an expert at running a business just the same as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and all the rest who not only have never run a business but have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. They all know that businesses are a never-ending source of tax revenue since all businesses are successful and operating at 100% profit margins.

      1. “”Hillary, of course, is an expert at running a business””

        Is business a new name for a shredder?

        1. Business==racket

          As in it was nothing personal, just business.

      2. Just like the insurance you could actually afford before Obamacare. That was scam insurance, not real insurance. The Obamacare policy with way shittier coverage, twice the deductible, and triple the premium is real insurance.

        1. One could conclude that the problem was that insurance was too affordable if you look back in retrospect.

    2. Socialists don’t believe in profits.
      All enterprises should be employee co-ops.
      But, that would presuppose that the employees have something to offer in the creation of the enterprise – some intellectual property, or perhaps .apital (can’t bring myself to spell the “C”-word).

      1. AD-RtR/OS! wrote “All enterprises should be employee co-ops.”
        Would the same rules apply? Would a fast-food restaurant co-op have to go through arbitration yada yada yada to fire a Bernie-clone, even though he’s a slacker and doesn’t do any work?

  3. What is the prog end game here? Destroying small businesses? surely they don’t actually believe these rules can be complied with?

    1. “”What is the prog end game here?”‘

      Compliance to authority, or else.

      1. Making reality fit their vision of how it should work. That ultimately ends in collapse, but it will be the wrecker’s fault.

      2. I think, if asked, Lander would say something along the lines of “most people would say that it’s not tyranny if it’s well intentioned.”

        He really doesn’t give two shits what the actual effect will be, his only concern is projecting the appearance that he’s trying to help the rights sorts of peasants.

    2. “”surely they don’t actually believe these rules can be complied with?”‘

      I don’t think they are looking that far ahead. It’s more important to be morally right than factually right.

    3. “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she said in response. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says ‘we should be excited about automation’

      1. How misinformed she is. NYC spends millions in homeless services to make sure you are not left to die.

        1. Stop putting facts in the way of “the narrative”.

      2. BTW, the feds also give additional money for homeless services via grants.

      3. She’ll regret that when machines gain sentience.

        1. These Socialists will rig those machines to fight for them like they are trying with the electronic voting machines.

          1. The machines won’t like that either when they rebel.

    4. “What is the prog end game here? ”

      Venezuela

      1. It’s not fair to bring up Venezuela. That’s not *real* socialism. Real socialism has never been tried, though I forgot why that is. (I’m sure there’s a reason.)

        1. Because socialism is so impractical that any attempt to implement it immediately turns into some form of tyranny such as fascism or feudalism – yet the socialists refuse to admit that their real goal is to be the tyrant.

    5. dantheserene–“what is the prog end game here?”
      Marxism of course, in the U.S. described as democratic socialism

      The Nation published a full-on Lenin quoting piece yesterday (look it up), advocating open borders for the Marxist revolution

      The Nation- “A European Spring is Possible”

    6. “What is the prog end game here?”

      What is the end game of any psychotic?

    7. They are neofeudalists. So, yes.

    8. Destroying small business is exactly the endgame. For all their talk about big corporations a few large businesses are easier for the government to control than thousands of small ones, and they also provide a necessary “boogeyman” to keep the voters scared. And when they mandate higher wages or more hours to provide a “win” to voters, the large businesses are the ones better able to accommodate the costs without serious impact on the workers. Its all bread and circuses

      1. To be clear: the large businesses do not accomodate the costs. They have sufficient access to capital to automate their way out of them.

        They may have economies of scale that allow a slightly higher margin at the same price point, but they only pay their owners out of profit after all the labor is paid for. In small restaurants, the owner is often bumping the margin up (paying himself) by personally performing some of that labor. Maybe as chef, general manager, accountant, etc.

        Being larger is no guarantee of success. I would expect that larger operations who have no emotional investment in the neighborhood and are driven purely by the numbers are more willing to walk away from NYC if the return on investment there is less than say Connecticut or Jersey. It’s a pain in the ads place to do business. If my model is standardization of process and cookie cutter replication of sandwich joints, I have no room for outliers. Plenty of people to feed elsewhere.

    9. The end game only happens in the long run. And in the long run, we’re all dead. At least that’s the plan.

  4. The next step is to make it illegal to go out of business.

    1. Directive 10-289

    2. Actually, before they go to that, the next step is freezing prices. You can’t let restaurateurs attempt to recoup higher operating costs by raising prices. After THAT is when you make it illegal for them to close their business, forcing them to bleed money until they’ve been sucked dry by the state.

      1. The market forces their hands on prices.

        People will not pay $10 per Happy Meal today, no matter how much the government thinks people will.

        1. That’s true enough; a lot of the appeal of fast food is that it’s cheap and convenient. But if operating costs are rising for the whole industry, nobody gains a competitive advantage. A price hike of 12% is huge, but it adds only 70 cents to a Big Mac combo.

          If McDonald’s did that in isolation they’d drive customers to their competitors. But if everyone is facing rising costs, the cost at large is going up. The demand doesn’t immediately evaporate.

          There is a breaking point. For me, the big threat is the office microwave. People want something fresh, but when the price reaches a breaking point, the alternative is planning ahead with a few big dinners that will taste well reheated (one of my go-tos for that is taco casserole) and eating leftovers for lunch every day.

          1. People will bring their own lunches and make their own dinners. Which people should do anyway to save money. If you prepare a large dish and freeze it in sections to reheat for lunches, you can save a bundle.

            Lefties have a solution for that in some Shithole cities.
            San Francisco Wants To Ban Multi-Million Dollar Corporate Cafeterias

          2. I’m seeing more ready-to-eat meals you can just heat up in a microwave. This is in addition to the traditional TV dinners. Of course, you could also just bring fruit or bread and sandwich makings like tuna salad from a deli.

            1. Prepared meals are usually more expensive than making your own meal. You tend to pay for convenience and packagaing.

      2. I don’t suppose any of you were around for 1970’s Economic Stabilization Act?

        A 90-day national wage and price freeze.

        Hell, it’s been almost 50 years– let’s give it another try!

        1. “Your hamburger is still $2. The bun, however, is $6. Condiments are $1 each.”

        2. Yes, I do remember when Nixon had wage and price controls to manage inflation. What we found out is that, if you try to regulate capital, you don’t get more capital, you get less…in this case, inflation escalated further and it took more capital to purchase food, cars, tv’s etc. This will also happen in New York. Wages as a total will not go up, but will decline (as business fails)…inflation will increase, not abate. A Big-Mac will cost you $10. Socialist never learn this and they keep trying to regulate. I can only say that New Yorkers are the ones to blame…they keep electing these idiots like Blab-er-so.

    3. Pretty sure Venezuela actually tried that.

      -jcr

      1. Maduro is just trying to get the right tweak on his minimum wage scheme.

  5. NYC Bill Would Outlaw Unfair Terminations in the Fast Food Industry

    Really accepting the narrative there.

    1. It already unlawful to terminate unfairly as defined by the law in NYC in any industry.

      I was working in a management position. I asked someone to do something and the guy said “fuck you, I’m not going to do it”. I was not allowed to fire him. All I could do was write him up.

      Is it really unfair that someone is fired for refusing to do work which they applied for, accepted the position, and understood what the work entailed?

      1. Yes, of course that is unfair.
        As is expecting him to show up on time, be coherent, or capable of any meaningful contribution to the business.
        You OWE him that job, so sit down and shut up. Be thankful the people’s court does not put you up against the wall.

      2. I literally had an employee say they were going to do something and had to point in his damn job description that it was his responsibility. Still wasn’t able to fire him right away

        1. I know of an organization where all position descriptions have the boilerplate “and other duties as required”. “It’s not my job” is a quick ticket to a 0.0% annual raise, which is a polite way of being told “it’s time for you to leave”.

    2. would it be possible to outlaw DiBlasio and the rest of those clowns? Asking for a friend

  6. “Should employers have the right to fire people for any reason, including the most trivial reasons? Most people would say that’s not a right people should have.”

    Should an employee have the right to quit an employer for any reason, including the most trivial reasons?

    Of course the answer is “yes”.

    Why would it be any different for employers?

    1. Because that is different. Workers vote democratic, owners vote republican.
      Duh

      1. LTBF- There must be a Like button around here somewhere.

        1. +1

    2. Because we’re dealing with Marxists is the shortest answer available. You know this though, I just thought I would make it explicit.

      1. Yes, and they’ve taken to quoting Lenin now. See my upthread post

    3. No one quits a job for some trivial reason, you literally die on the street if you do that. Jeez, how unwoke.

    4. Should an employee have the right to quit an employer for any reason, including the most trivial reasons?

      Of course the answer is “yes”.

      Is it? If I can’t fire you without just cause, why should you be able to leave me without just cause?

  7. First, they mandate that you have to pay your employees more than they’re worth, then they mandate that you can’t get rid of workers you can’t afford, how long before they mandate you hire a certain number of employees? I mean, the clear intent of the minimum wage law is to make sure people get paid a decent wage and they can’t make a decent wage if they don’t have a job so what’s the difference in principle between telling you that you have to pay a certain amount of money to your employees and telling you that you have to hire a certain number of employees?

    1. This is how get Venezuela.

    2. And when the cost of eating out goes up and businesses start to fold, the next step will be to require every person eat out so many times per week.

      Then they’ll finally give up, take over all the businesses, and pay everyone $15/hour regardless of what work they do or whether they work at all.

      1. At some point they’ll try to freeze prices, or institute cost control measures to keep businesses from maintaining a profit margin as their operating costs get higher.

    3. I can think of only one industry that forces clients to hire the workers in it.

      😉

      Socialism for the people who miss rehab so much they want to model the nation after their favorite rehab center.

  8. “Westcott isn’t wrong: The restaurant industry operates on slim profit margins, which peak around 4 percent”

    4% profit margin isn’t all that slim. From what I’ve read (may be out of date) the all industry national average is around 5% and if you want slim, they average profit margin for retail grocery is around 0.5%.

    1. Different definitions of slim I think. It can be slim generally, while not being slim comparatively.

    2. I’ve seen studies before that show the average profit margin for all businesses is around 0%. The airline industry is an outlier in that regard, it actually has a negative profit margin as a whole. Of course, if you’re only going to count profitable businesses and ignore the failed businesses, it’s easier to assume that business owners are all wealthy fat cats. It’s the seen and the unseen – everybody knows who Ray Kroc is, nobody’s ever heard of the thousands of people who tried and failed to do what he did. A restaurant is just about the easiest business to get into and the easiest business to fail at, very few independent restaurants last as long as 5 years.

    3. 4% of $1,00,000 (average annual small restaurant revenue) is lower than 0.5% of $14,000,000 (average annual grocery revenue)

      1. In this case, they *DO* make it up in volume.
        I think it was A&P who first figured it out, but I’d have to chase through some bizz-history books to prove it. Regardless, the others soon also figured it out, and we got cheaper food, while they made money.

        1. Plus, capital investments (store/kitchen/restaurant remodels) are not every year so you can space out those depending on what your strategy is.

  9. “I don’t know how a small business owner would be able to survive in the circumstances of that bill,”

    I get the feeling that your survival is not something that the people who wrote the bill really care about, sir.

  10. As if I needed another, just one more reason to avoid the NYC cesspit.

  11. It’s not “Fast Food.” It’s good food quickly.

  12. The problem with the entire $15 minimum wage is it is based on a fundemental lack of understanding of how restaurant franchising works. The fact McDonalds makes billions is irrelevant because the local is McDs is a franchise. A franchise is a small business with high overhead. Most run on very thin profit margins and the only thing they can control is labor costs. Like Seattle, NYC is going to discover they are simply going to force alot of businesses to close. Smart owners will simply close down for a month or so, remodel and open with a reduced staff.

    1. “Like Seattle, NYC is going to discover they are simply going to force alot of businesses to close.”

      A local dimbulb (yes, a proggie) sticks his nose in all sorts of circumstances where he has no business, specifically, deciding what businesses should be allowed to open in what neighborhood. As a result, there are quite a few empty retail units.
      Now, he wants to tax the landlords if a space stays empty for X time-span.

      1. Functionally no different than any other protection racket.

        Haven’t you seen Goodfellas?

        1. One reason that Silicon Valley thrived in a low regulation area of 1970s California rather than NY City area full of thugs and heavy regulation.

          Weather is another.

      2. Now, he wants to tax the landlords if a space stays empty for X time-span.

        This kind of ignorance doesn’t come naturally. It has to be trained.

        1. Maybe that is the experience that Beto has.

          Haha. Damn didnt think of that earlier.

  13. “Workers have told me they’ve been fired for no reason at all,”

    What? What’s the big deal? Since when is it a crime to say porch monkey?

    1. No one is fired for no reason at all. People who say that just refuse to accept the reason why they were.

      1. ^This. Hiring and training new workers, even at entry level, is an expense and a pain in the ass. If they got fired there was a reason.

        1. Yeah no shit. I was a manager at McD’s in HS & college in the late 90’s- early 2000s. There was a contingent of people in town who just rotated among getting fired from McD’s, Hardee’s, Pizza Hut, and Dairy Queen. Then they’d get re-hired at the first place and start the whole thing over again.

  14. Well, now they’ll just replace more people with machines because someone that can’t be fired is a liability.

    1. At the restaurants themselves, it’ll probably be more self-service than automation. More restaurants will go to counter service and kiosk/app based ordering and maybe stop accepting cash to avoid the labor involved with handling it. On the food side, more and more of the prep work will be done off-site in automated processing facilities and/or low-minimum wage locales. As little prep and cooking as possible will actually be done on site.

      1. For one “cash only” is already being deemed illegal in more “progressive” locales; next will be laws against robotics, automation, outsourcing [as with ordering] or anything that could impact employment.

        I am beginning to suspect what “they” really want is to sabotage the economy so they have a greater opportunity to take over.

        I say things how that I called tin hat conspiracies just a few years ago.

        1. Talking about domestic spying in the 80s was consider tin hat material. Now we love running out to buy the latest and greatest personal location tracker.

        2. I for one am shocked by the Lefty attacks on cashless businesses. I think they have too many political supporters using cash to push everyone on the non-anonymous credit or debit card transactions.

          1. It is kind of funny that all the people who insist that poor people are unable to get photo ID’s would be all-in on pushing the Mark of the Beast. I think if Democrats ever do push for a completely cashless society, Republicans should take whatever they want to implement in its place and say “Great idea, people should need that to vote, too!” and that will be the end of that.

      2. I actually remember a Horn and Hardart automat in midtown Manhattan.

        They were ahead of their time

        1. I can think of several other industries that USE THE GOVERNMENT to force you to buy their product. (The only one that does this without government force is known as a “protection racket”): Auto insurance (aside from the option of not owning a car, which has been impractical nearly everywhere I’ve lived.) Now health insurance. And of course, water, sewage, and in many places electricity – if you don’t buy these from the government-created monopolies, the government will condemn your house as not fit for habitation.

          Incidentally, this is how liberals created the homeless problem: they banned living conditions that they’ve never been poor enough to settle for. None of my great-grandparents had electricity or central heating when they were children, but now it may be mandatory. One pair of my grandparents were OK with a well and hand-powered pump out front and an outhouse in the back, but it’s likely that these are banned now even when the nearest neighbor is half a mile away.

          And finally, a plain old telephone in the house was the first _luxury_ my parents

  15. It’s interesting to me that resturants operate on such slim margins even though their actual labor costs are usually incredibly low. What’s really weird is that people want to raise the price of the food they get at all restaurants by a huge margin.

    Something tells me that if they get their way, they will suddenly bitch and complain about restaurants gouging them on price. That 15% gratuity will turn into 20 or 25 and be built into the cost of the food, and if you suddenly make these employees benefits eligible you’re going to see no restaurants at all.

    It’s incredibly frustrating that no one seems able to connect regulation with increasing the cost of doing business past the point of profitability. They regulate things out of existence, then blame the kulaks and wreckers.

    1. They literally think the owners are just sitting on a giant pile of money and refuse to give it to their employees, so they will make them do that. That won’t impact prices or headcount or anything

      1. I think a whole generation grew up picturing anyone with wealth as Scrooge McDuck. They’ve all got these giant vaults of gold they’re just swimming in. No rich person is doing anything productive with his money at all.

        1. I think a whole generation is growing up outright communist right under our noses. One thing is certain, classical liberalism is dead in these United States.

          1. classical liberalism

            If it’s dead the rotting corpse still shuffling about grumbling “?galit?!”.

            1. They changed the meaning of that pretty effectively. They still say it, it just means something entirely different these days. You know, like ‘gender’.

    2. The end results will be restaurants shutting down because they cannot turn a profit.

      There is a limit to what people will pay for fast food.

      1. Shuttering restaurants, the next food desert.

        1. Then you give subsidies to new restaurants in the name of combatting food deserts. See how useful and important government is and how it works for the little people?

          1. Holy shit Vic, clearly you have read a history book or three.

            1. It will pose a national crisis worthy of emergency executive action.

  16. Yes, New York, continue to destroy yourself.

  17. “Should employers have the right to fire people for any reason, including the most trivial reasons?”

    Well, yeah. Duh.

    “Most people would say that’s not a right people should have.”

    Sadly, he’s right there.

  18. In most states, employees are all “at will” employees who can be fired at any time for any reason UNLESS they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract.

    1. Or it’s a reason that’s prohibited by statute. You know, like missing work due to jury duty?

  19. Businesses have to pay a certain and cannot fire certain poorly performing employees without government approval.

    Why people still live and do business in NY and CA is baffling to me.

    1. Millions of potential customers in a small geographical area.

      1. Thats why drones will be great. Fly in food and supplies to Commifornia from Nevada.

        Same with NY from New Jersey.

        Of course, many of the Lefties have spilled into neighboring states around CA and NY and fucked them up too.

    2. NYC has the cultural infrastructure to support ethnic minorities that you cannot find in many other parts of the USA. Most NYC families that assimilate into mainstream American culture move out of the region within a generation or two.

  20. I, for one, welcome the new ‘bots at the fast-food joint nearby.

    1. Prices go down and service quality goes up!

  21. “The Full Employment for Fast Food Robots” act?

  22. Future headline: Last New York fast food restaurant closes!

  23. For the record, I’m a big fan of those automated menu thingies. It’s nice to be able to go to Panera Bread and order a sandwich without having to talk to people.

    1. I don’t mind talking to people, but – at least at my local Panera – the staff behind the counter are only biologically human. Again, maybe it’s just a local thing, but it does seem that their training and practices has sucked any semblance of life right out of them.

      Unlike the guy at the local gyro joint whose accent I can barely understand, but at least he’s alive. More expensive too, but you get what you pay for.

    2. Well, I think not having to wait in line is an even bigger benefit than not having to talk to people. Not that I think that avoiding human contact is actually a benefit.

  24. How would it work if each fast food outlet come out with labor contract that each employee had to sign to work at that outlet. The contract would be for a few months at a time. The length of time would very for each individual employee. At the end of the contract the employee would be considered for being rehired for another contract or would be not contracted. The contract would out line what each part would be required to do. If the contract employee does not fulfill the terms of the contract even for not showing up for work for a defined time would be subject to be terminated or not to be re-contracted.

  25. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

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  26. When will “I’m shutting this thing down and moving to Florida. Screw you!” cease to be a legitimate excuse?

  27. Ever read ‘CityLab’? They have a RainMan “Who’s on Third” riddle problem.

    *All makets, capitalism and profits are evil
    *Lack of markets, capitalism, in this underserved community and food desert is evil
    *Which Markets are evil?

    Repeat until you go insane, or get a 300k+ paying job at a University or Politics and write about the riddle

  28. Weird. I’ve been the victim of a couple of firings I considered unfair, yet it would never occur to me to use the Mailed Fist of the State to force my employers to keep me on.

    1. Most states are “at will” employment states. That means you can be fired for any reason at anytime unless you have an employment contract to the contrary…

      1. True yet not true. You cannot be fired for age, religious belief or sexual orientation. You will find people win a lot of lawsuits for unfair termination.

        1. I think the question if someone can be fired due to their sexual orientation differs depending on where they work. Some states and cities have laws forbidding it but many do not.

          However, at the federal level isn’t there a circuit split right now? Didn’t the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Seventh Circuit rule that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects one from being fired due to their sexual orientation (of course, the letter of the law says no such thing) while the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that sexual orientation is not a protected class under the CRA (based on some crazy logic that the CRA lists specific protected classes and fails to list sexual orientation or even “whatever group a judge fancies it to be good policy to protect”)?

      2. I work as an “at will” employee and fully understand that I can be fired if my boss does not like the color of my shoes or is pissed at his-her-its husband-wife-other and wants to take it out on me. I saw another employee who was ‘let go’ and who had worked for the company for 14 years. The company had declining sales. You’d think that the company, knowing that sales were declining, would have given this 14 year employee a couple of week’s notice. Nope, she got 30 minutes to get her personal belongings boxed up, turn in her badge and computer and leave the building. There comes a time when a little humanity should be observed.

        1. The problem is that weird happens fast. You have to be decisive.

          Morale-sapping grousing and gossip, pity-parties, theft, espionage, recruitment. Etc.

          As soon as you know you aren’t going to go all the way through the tunnel, you turn around. No sense in going deeper for “a little while”

          Pay a decent severance if you want, but they generally need to be out of the building. They aren’t on your team anymore.

          I’m sure exceptions exist.

          1. What’s to stop an employee who gave two weeks notice from doing all of the things you listed?

        2. This is why I never give two weeks notice when I quit a job. They refuse to offer me the same courtesy, even when the firing is due to cutbacks, not bad performance on my part.

  29. These politicians do not seem to be able to anticipate anything. They are probably surprised when the sun comes up in the morning. The cheapest and easiest way for an employer to deal with the increased minimum wage is not automation. It is to replace the low-ability employees with higher-ablilty employees.

    1. If it were so easy to replace low-ability employees with high-ability employees, why wouldn’t that have happened already?

      I mean, if you are hiring and have the choice between two employees, one with low ability and one with high ability, which one would you chose? The low ability one? Just for fun?

      1. Because higher ability workers won’t work for lower wages.

        So, when an employer is forced by government to pay a wage floor, the ability to discriminate suddenly loses its cost penalty.

        If I can’t pay an urban ghetto kid with no skills $5/hour, but am forced to pay him $15/hour, I’m going to look much harder for someone with skills that will be worth $15/hour. If those folks are in short supply, then I’m going to automate.

        Either way, the poor, unskilled kid from the ghetto goes back to making the natural minimum wage of $0…

        1. Exactly right Enemy of the State. I have been in business a long time myself. It is just a fact that the more a business pays; the better employees they can get. If a business has to pay the higher wage, they might as well get the better employees.

        2. You can’t take a chance on a guy who might pan out. You can’t balance risk /reward.

          To be safe, you should require advanced degrees for everybody.

          That will make it more “fair”

    2. Depends on the relevant cost of automation…

  30. The worst fast food customer service I’ve ever received was in NYC. I’d bet the nitwits I encountered think they’re worth $15 per hour.

    1. Don’t be absurd. They think they’re worth $50 an hour.

      1. $50 per hour is slave wages in New York, thanks to Rent Control, tax for this, tax for that and so on. Senator Schumer opposed Obama’s proposed tax increase on those who earn more than $200,000 per year because $200,000 per year in NY is pretty ordinary. Why is $200,000 ordinary in NY…after all, it is a shit-hole for most who live there.

        1. One more thing…when AOC chased away Amazon, it was reported that the average salary at Amazon would have been $150,000. Really? Quick math tells me that’s considerably more than $15/hour. Thanks AOC.

  31. I see we are driving hard towards European levels of youth unemployment. That should make everyone happy.

    1. ^^^ Gets it^^^

  32. It is better for everyone, including restaurant workers who lose their jobs, if tasks than can be automated are automated.

    Automation is progress because it enables us to produce that which we need for much less. If all we had to do to encourage is was make it harder to fire restaurant workers, that would be a very smart move.

    “rewarding career in the industry”

    Sorry, but if you are doing a job that is so repetitive and mindless that it can be automated away, that is by definition not a rewarding career.

    A little bit of more balance in power between employers and employees is a good idea.

    1. Power between employers and employees lays with the employees. The employer cannot force the employees to do a blessed thing they care not to. The employees always have the power of “I quit”. The employer cannot force anyone to work for him…

  33. “Should employers have the right to fire people for any reason, including the most trivial reasons? ”

    Yes. You have no right to your job. The business is his, not yours. So shut up and stay the fuck away from other people’s property…

  34. Fast food employees are particularly vulnerable to advances in technology,

    The whole point is to force the low-value rabble to move someplace else.

  35. I guess the thinking is that if everyone in the industry has to play by these rules, then everyone will be able to pass the cost, or most of it, along to the consumers. Given that consumers are a large, disorganized group of people who are not individually impacted to any great extent, it may work. I can’t see the average New Yorker complaining if that’s the way it pans out. Some consumers at the low end of the scale may not be able to eat fast food as often, but that may not be a terrible thing, either. I wonder if anyone will be tracking the consequences to see.

    1. “Some consumers at the low end of the scale may not be able to eat fast food as often” — which, of course, means even fewer food service workers will be needed even without automation.

  36. In related news, Democrats are furious at Trump for defunding the Gateway Project, because they think New York City needs more workers from New Jersey who cannot command the salaries necessary to pay full price train fares.

  37. Lefty economists don’t dispute that lifetime employment system used by countries like Japan results in less spending and chronic youth unemployment. Most parts of Europe also eschews at will employment and that region is just no bueno for the democrat base.

    “How are we going pay for your programs” is not some knee jerk right wing retort. People can see that societies that spend without restraint on social programs (pensions, welfare, healthcare, etc) often experience economic downturns and social upheavals. The people are their needs are infinite, the money is not. We like to point out to Venezuela, but Greece wasn’t that long ago.

    Why is the left so desperate to implement policies from societies lesser than the United States? Because for all their Trump hate, they were the original populists. The party is funded by the elites, but at ground level they’re ran by activists who espouse the social justice economic policies that doomed their homeland. The notion that the economy might break if the government pays for everything does not register in their minds, despite organic events that unfold before their eyes.

  38. Define “Unfair”?

    1. Anything I don’t like!

  39. Maybe NY can make it illegal to close your business. Restaurants have always been a tough business to manage and make money at. Many restaurants close within 2 years after opening. So this wage hike will lead to the closing of thousands of marginal restaurants as well as other marginally run businesses. San Francisco has also passed some crazy socialist regulations such as requiring all employers in the city to give raises every year to all employees. Modern liberals are a disease.

  40. Way too many low-skilled job openings in NYC I see… Government must step in and get rid of all those choices.

  41. Why is there no law requiring an employee to have a valid reason for quitting???

    1. ^Now that’s a well stated Counter-Point!!! +1000

  42. I get paid over $180 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I just got paid $ 8550 in my previous month It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it.
    ?????AND GOOD LUCK????? http://www.Theprocoin.com

  43. The problem with driving businesses out of NYC and NY is that it will drive people out of NYC and NY. They will move to more business friendly jurisdictions…but they will bring their crazy left political views with them. They will start voting for Dems. We will see Dems taking over state governments in the Carolinas, Georga, and Florida. And if they can’t actually win elections, they will vote farm their way to victory. Then those states will start enacting business hostile laws.

    I am glad that I am old and that I don’t have children. The world is going to hell. I just hope the final collapse does not happen until after I die.

  44. “Because working in a fast-food joint is now a ‘career’!…”

    The dipshits pushing this crap are so fucked in the head as to be beyond redemption

    “I’m talking to YOU, de Blabbermouth!!!…”

  45. If the horse staggers under the load you have dumped on it, what do you do?
    1. Remove some of the load
    2. Shift the load
    3. Whip it harder
    I wonder what the expert wranglers of the NY city government will do.

    1. You invest in a self-driving truck, offload the horse into the truck, shoot the horse and eat it.

    2. You invest in a self-driving truck, offload the horse into the truck, shoot the horse and eat it.

      1. If you’re French. If not, find a Frenchman and sell it to him.

  46. I don’t know whether these NYC City Councilmembers are na?fs, or ideologically-blinded, or just foolish. But eventually they will learn that, as with the law of gravity, you cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. You can, of course, adopt a command economy — following which you will end up with an economy at best similar to Bulgaria’s post-War situation, and at worst similar to Venezuela’s today.

    1. Sorry for going off-topic, but thanks for giving me ammunition that proves umlauts are used in English. Technically, its not am umlaut, but it works for my purposes 🙂

  47. I don’t know whether these NYC City Councilmembers are na?fs, or ideologically-blinded, or just foolish. But eventually they will learn that, as with the law of gravity, you cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. You can, of course, adopt a command economy — following which you will end up with an economy at best similar to Bulgaria’s post-War situation, and at worst similar to Venezuela’s today.

  48. I don’t know whether these NYC City Councilmembers are na?fs, or ideologically-blinded, or just foolish. But eventually they will learn that, as with the law of gravity, you cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. You can, of course, adopt a command economy — following which you will end up with an economy at best similar to Bulgaria’s post-War situation, and at worst similar to Venezuela’s today.

  49. I don’t know whether these NYC City Councilmembers are na?fs, or ideologically-blinded, or just foolish. But eventually they will learn that, as with the law of gravity, you cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. You can, of course, adopt a command economy — following which you will end up with an economy at best similar to Bulgaria’s post-War situation, and at worst similar to Venezuela’s today.

  50. I don’t know whether these NYC City Councilmembers are na?fs, or ideologically-blinded, or just foolish. But eventually they will learn that, as with the law of gravity, you cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. You can, of course, adopt a command economy — following which you will end up with an economy at best similar to Bulgaria’s post-War situation, and at worst similar to Venezuela’s today.

  51. This must be a joke of an article. A travesty. You people do not believe that it is more than twice as expensive to live in or around NYC than anyplace in Mississippi? Do you believe New Yorkers are going to travel an hour to save $2 a meal? God stupidity is rampant here.

    1. Do you believe you’re legally bind-ed (i.e. Cannot move) out of the sh!thole created by liberal minds? But; When you do move please realize that you are escaping the “effects” of commie minds/legislation and don’t pack those failed “beliefs” with you and infect your destination with the failure else you might just turn your “Greener Pastures” right back into the sh!thole of NYC.

  52. I’m seeing fast food joints around NYC simply going out of business.

    “Liberal” economics at work — sheer genius.

  53. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    >>>>>>>>>> http://www.GeoSalary.com

  54. Don’t worry, all the food service workers who end up being laid off due to minimum wage laws and automation can just work from home by following the links in some of the posts that appear in the Reason comment threads – I hear you can make $77/hour in at least some of these opportunities.

    That, or maybe Reason will hire them to monitor the comment threads and purge the spam from them.

    Either way, problem solved!

  55. Self serve kiosks instead of cashiers are already a reality in many places. New machines that flip burgers with temperature sensors for the perfect time to flip, never over or under done.

    They work without whining and when a better one comes along you just scrap the old one.

    A fast track to ending those entry level jobs entirely.

  56. How about, “I cannot afford to keep you on, because the stupid politicians raised the minimum wage?”

    Is that a good excuse?

    1. It might not be good, but it will be honest.

  57. Absent a written employment contract, a legally binding document that effects ALL parties concerned, I had been under the impression that employment was on an At Will basis, where the employer could discharge an employee at any time, and the employee could depart from a particular job situation as they saw fit. Not the case? Clarify please.

  58. This is the primary reason that small businesses are leaving these cities. It is simply not possible to do what socialists expect should be done. But with socialists, it’s always done on another persons’ dollar.

    What will these cities do when they finally have no small businesses to sustain the residents’ needs for food, shelter and clothing? I guess the genius of DeBlasio will come up with some excuse for these greedy conservative businesses. But you can bet he’ll never take the blame for his actions. Liberals don’t take the blame for anything, They blame others.

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