A recent statement by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer indicates that he has made a decision to be on both the sides of the much-debated higher restaurant minimum wage campaign. On one hand, he publicly supported the higher minimum wage asked by workers. But amidst all this, he runs a campaign that is fuelled by donations that were provided by the anti-hike industry. This is baffling for the crowd, as it leaves them as confused as Stringer himself.
Scott Stringer receives donations for his campaign from restaurant-bar lobby
If you take a look at the donations received by Stringer over the past five years, you would be equally shocked by the facts and revelations. From the year 2010, Stringer has received $135,000 worth of donations from members of the restaurant-bar lobby. The list includes some big names like Andrew Crisses, the Executive Vice President of the Charmer Sunbelt group. He donated $109,775 for Scott Stringer’s campaign. Even this week, Stringer will be feted at a fundraiser that will be co-hosted by Andrew Rigie, head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance lobbying group. The fundraiser will be held at Joanne Trattoria on the Upper West Side.
Two reports issued by Stringer have irritated people campaigning for wage hike, too. The reports recommended a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and all his actions have left both parties confused. The union leaders who are pressing for wage hikes are now puzzled. They are also angry about the fact that Stringer is taking cash from the restaurant industry.
“Raising the minimum wage is one of our biggest priorities,” said an anonymous union official. “So seeing Scott take money from the guy leading the charge against those efforts is a total slap in the face. He’s so consumed by raking in campaign cash and taking gratuitous shots at the mayor, that this is either rank incompetence or the worst kind of craven pandering.”
The debate continues as the arguments increase
On this New Year’s Eve, the hourly minimum wage for tipped restaurant and hospitality workers was increased from $5 to $7.50. The overall minimum wage for New York also rose from $8.75 an hour to $9 an hour. Governor Cuomo appointed a wage board that ordered a phased-in $15-an-hour minimum wage for fast-food service workers in New York City from 2018. This led to the formation of Rigie and the alliance that plans to limit the increase for tipped restaurant workers. As per Rigie, the lower pay is completely justified. According to him, the workers in the industry make more with tips.
“We’ve raised money for the comptroller because we’ve had a long relationship with him listening to the concerns of the hospitality industry, even though we don’t always agree,” said Rigie. “Over the years he’s been supportive of holding government agencies accountable, such as reducing excessive fines and regulatory burdens on small businesses.”
Stringer has been a commendable fundraiser and has a campaign balance of $876,492. The stats are from his latest filing for July campaign. “Scott Stringer believes that building New York City’s economy means supporting small businesses and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” a Stringer spokeswoman said.