In an op/ed piece appearing in yesterday’s New York Times, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would direct the Commissioner of Labor to convene a new Wage Board “to examine the minimum wage in the fast-food industry” in New York state. The Commissioner’s announcement follows on the heels of a separate op/ed suggesting this approach penned by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the Daily News several weeks ago, noting that New York Labor Law § 653 provides that the Commissioner can “cause an investigation to be made of the wages being paid to persons employed in any occupation or occupations to ascertain whether the minimum wages established in accordance with the provisions of this article are sufficient to provide adequate maintenance and to protect the health of the persons employed in such occupation or occupations.”

One issue sure to foster debate during this Wage Board process, along with the broader debate concerning the appropriate minimum wage, will be how the Wage Board and the Commissioner of Labor seek to define and delimit the “fast-food industry,” a task similar to that undertaken by the City of Seattle in its recent legislation setting a faster timetable for “franchisees” to come into compliance with its heightened minimum wage than that for independent local business. Watch this space for further coverage of the 2015 Wage Board process.