Living Wage Bill Approved by City Council; Mayor to Veto

May 4, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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MANHATTAN — The City Council on Monday passed a bill that will require those who directly benefit from city subsidies to pay their employees a living wage.

Also on Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would veto it.

Called the Living Wage Bill and written following “an historic two-year campaign” by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other council members, along with union leaders and developers, the law would require  employers to pay workers at least $10 an hour on economic development projects in the city that receive $1 million in tax abatements or low-cost financing.

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Specifically, business owners in future city-aided projects would have to pay $11.50 an hour, or $10 with health benefits, in projects from the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC). It would exempt workers in manufacturing, affordable housing, nonprofit organizations and small businesses. requiring

“When we invest in economic development, we should expect that the jobs created are good jobs,” Quinn said at a press conference prior to the vote. “If you take city subsidies, which you’re not required to take, then you have to meet a standard of pay. If you don’t want to meet that standard of pay, then you don’t have to take the city’s money.”

Quinn said it could affect at least 600 workers a year.

According to Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union), who was present at the pre-vote press conference, this vote will “reflect the voice of 74 percent of New Yorkers who are in favor of the living wage bill, according to poll results released in December from Quinnipiac University.”

Living Wage NYC coordinated the press conference which, according to Appelbaum, attracted Quinn, City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, City Comptroller John C. Liu, and other elected leaders along with leading experts on living wage legislation, community leaders, workers, clergy, and a broad range of local supporters of the bill.

The council vote was 44 to 5 in favor. More than 34 votes exist to override a veto, Quinn told Appelbaum. The mayor then said he’ll sue to block the law if that happens.

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