This week, the New York Wage Board recommended that the state’s fast food workers should make $15 per hour, which has been the rallying cry for the labor movement across the country.
The New York move was seen as a victory for workers in this industry, who are among the lowest-paid in the country.
Within a day, corporate America was on the attack, to stop the spread of this burgeoning national movement.
Dunkin Donuts CEO Nigel Travis — who previously held senior positions at Papa John’s and Burger King, other low-wage employers — appeared on CNN and decried the $15 minimum wage as “absolutely outrageous.” He went on to claim that the move will prevent his company from hiring more people and would “affect small business and franchises.”
Watch his appearance:
It’s curious that Travis would argue that paying low-income people money — and in this case, $15 per hour isn’t a whole lot of money in an expensive state like New York, it amounts to around $30,000 per year, which is fairly modest — would have cataclysmic impacts on his company and others.
After all, Travis’s own compensation is through the roof. His most recent annual salary was $990,385. If you add in stock options and other non-salary benefits, his total compensation is calculated at over $10.2 million (or $4,887 an hour based on a standard 2,087-hour work-year).
Yes, it’s true that a single executive’s salary isn’t going to make a huge economic impact on a company as large as Dunkin Donuts—its adjusted net income in 2014 was $186 million—it does seem odd that Travis and so many of his executive colleagues across Corporate America are eager to argue that small increases to modest wages for their employees are out of the question while doing little to reduce the growth of their own compensation, which in this case is that of over 300 employees who would be earning $15 per hour.
This post first appeared at Alternet.