Route 66 News

Restaurant’s actions leads to Albuquerque adding teeth to minimum-wage law

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported the city likely will approve enforcement measures for a minimum-wage increase approved by voters in 2012.

The impetus to add teeth to the law was the Route 66 Malt Shop‘s refusal to comply with it last year. The owner’s son also reportedly threatened an employee who blew the whistle on the restaurant’s noncompliance and the restaurant was sued by the city for “a pattern of illegal and wrongful actions” (a copy of the lawsuit is here). The website for New Mexico court cases was down Monday night, so a status of that lawsuit wasn’t available.

If a business owner in Albuquerque breaks the minimum-wage law under the city’s proposal, it would be subject to a $900 fine, up to 90 days in jail and an extra fine of wages owed, plus interest.

Naturally, the Route 66 Malt Shop is against the city adding punitive measures for those who break the law. But this part of the television station’s report stood out:

While the owner wouldn’t agree to an on-camera interview, she said the new punishments will be a big blow to her customers. Hamburgers that cost $5 could soon cost $12.

Albuquerque law in 2014 requires that tipped workers be paid $5.16 an hour, or 60 percent of the city’s minimum wage of $8.60.

If the restaurant pays the required wages, it’s very difficult to believe it alone results in a 240 percent hike in the price of hamburgers when one factors in myriad other expense factors. Either the Route 66 Malt Shop’s management has very poor math skills, or it needs a better accountant.

(Image of the Route 66 Malt Shop by Boortz47 via Flickr)