NEW YORK — The Living Wage NYC Coalition, led by the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, urged the City Council to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act on Thursday.
This story first appeared in the June 1, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The act grew out of a citywide campaign for living-wage jobs and economic justice, the coalition noted, passing the New York City Council by a 45 to 5 vote on April 30, and had the backing of elected officials, labor leaders, faith leaders and business owners. The coalition noted that a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed 74 percent of voters supported it, with 60 percent of Republicans saying it is government’s responsibility to ensure workers are paid a decent wage.
“We are proud to have played a lead role in building the living-wage movement and shaping this legislation,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU. “The city needs to create higher-wage jobs, not poverty-wage jobs. An override of the mayor’s veto will be a major triumph for working people, for democracy, and for our city.”
The legislation, introduced in October, would require that businesses that receive at least $1 million in city subsidies pay their workers $10 an hour plus benefits, or $11.50 an hour without benefits.
In vetoing the measure, Bloomberg said it would create “onerous requirements and potential penalties that will…discourage companies from participating in any city programs that involved financial assistance” and would “threaten some of the city’s most innovative and important economic development projects.”
Bloomberg said the bill would make it harder for companies to make decisions to invest in New York and would be “a risk to New York City’s economic competitiveness.” He added that “while this bill could potentially result in higher wages for some workers, these increases would come at the cost of job creation.”