Diner Owner Tells Press He Opposes Min Wage Increase – Then Coughlin Steps In

Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin visited the Ocean Bay Diner in Sayreville this morning to promote the impact of the minimum wage legislation that’s coming up for a vote in the Senate and Assembly.  But, the diner’s owner had a different take (initially, see below), per a tweet from Politico NJ’s Matt Friedman:

NJ.com’s Brent Johnson reported that the owner, Teddy Lutas, expressed his concerns over wage hikes leading to menu price hikes and is concerned he’ll go out of business.  Lutas said ‘they’re not gonna listen to me. They’re gonna do it anyway, like they did in New York’.

Coughlin subsequently sent out a statement, saying he had discussed the ‘provisions of the legislation’ with Lutas, who ‘now reiterates his support of our efforts’.  In a statement from the AMO, Loutas said ‘I was not fully aware that the minimum wage increase will be phased in over five years. That’s why I’m so happy that Speaker Coughlin took the time to talk me through the plan. I do support paying my hard-working employees a wage that helps them make ends meet and makes the state more affordable for them. We have a very loyal customer base and I know they’ll continue to frequent my diner. I am not concerned about having to close’.

Senate President Sweeney released a statement on the diner visit, saying ‘meeting with employees and patrons of the Ocean Bay Diner helps to put a face on the real life impact of a graduated, multi-year increase in the minimum wage.  These are the men and women whose lives will be improved with an increase in pay that will climb to $15 per hour. This is about the lives and livelihoods of working people’.

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