Last week, as Council Members gathered for the Stated Meeting, nearly 100 clergy members led a procession and rally in support of living wage legislation. They delivered collection baskets to the Council filled with postcards signed by their parishoners urging the Council to pass the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.
This legislation, sponsored by Council Members Koppell and Palma, would require that entities receiving economic development subsidies from the City provide jobs that pay, at minimum, a living wage, which is currently defined as $10 per hour with health benefits, or $11.50 without them. Melissa is also the lead sponsor on the Good Jobs Bill, which will require that owners of buildings receiving City financial assistance or where the City is leasing space, must pay its service workers a prevailing wage, as defined by the Comptroller’s office.
Mayor Bloomberg has expressed his opposition to policies that would require improved wage standards on economic development projects, saying “I’ve always wanted to let the marketplace set the wages… Government should not be in the business of doing that… The last government that tried that doesn’t exist anymore. That was the Soviet Union.”
His administration has instead commissioned a study that will look at the potential impact of living wage policy in New York City. However, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has selected a consulting firm to run the study that has already taken a clear public position against living wages and even the minimum wage. Therefore, the City is spending $1.1 million on a study that already has a pre-determined outcome (see video below).