Wage protestors target malt shop

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Protestors gathered outside an Albuquerque restaurant Tuesday and said they'd be around all week because the owner refuses to pay his workers the city's new minimum wage.    

The owner of the Route 66 Malt Shop in Nob Hill said his employees agreed to be paid at the old minimum wage in order to avoid layoffs.

The progressive group ProgressNow New Mexico organized this protest calling the owner's action unjust.

"When an employer like this decides to steal money from his from employees instead of follow the law, we think it's time for us to stand up and do something," at Davis of ProgressNow said.

Two hundred people signed a petition in the last 12 hours agreeing to boycott the malt shop until it starts paying the full minimum wage to employees, Davis added.

The group plans to continue protesting all week and inform people about the boycott.

The municipal wage law, which went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by city voters , boosted pay $1 an hour to $8.50 for most employees.  Tipped employees wages went from $2.13 an hour to $3.83 an hour.

More from KRQE.com: City Hall won't enforce its wage ordinance

Shop owner Eric Szeman said there is no enforcement for not complying with the new minimum law.  But the ordinance does have language saying an employee could sue for triple the lost wages and attorney's fees.

"The gist of it is is the attempt to hurt a business like ours, and ours specifically in this case, only hurts the business, but by hurting the business it hurts the employees that they're ostensibly trying to help," Szeman said.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association, which was and continues to be against Albuquerque's minimum wage hike, issued a statement urging restaurant owners to pay employees at the city's new minimum wage rate.

Albuquerque voters supported the minimum-wage hike by a 2-1 majority in November.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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