As part of his State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to expand living wage legislation using a tool he has previously rarely mentioned: an executive order.
Mr. de Blasio announced that he will move to drop a lawsuit filed by his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, to halt legislation passed by the Council guaranteeing so-called “living wage” salaries to employees of projects that receive more than $1 million in city subsidies.
wheee what a great day
Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to hang another key proposal of his early administration on Albany, announcing plans today to push state lawmakers to allow the city to set its own minimum wage during his first State of the City address.
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Come, come, ready?” Councilwoman Tish James hurriedly exclaimed when we started to ask her about today’s Supreme Court ruling on health care reform before a rally celebrating the vote on living wage legislation coming later today.
“So, today I like Roberts. I’m happy that the mandate was upheld. This is a great day for democracy, it’s a great day for the budget, it’s a great day for childcare and after school programs,” she answered. “So, overall, today’s a proud day!”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was a featured speaker at today’s rally celebrating the upcoming vote to pass living wage legislation, but her speech abruptly halted shortly after introducing her fellow colleagues in attendance when a protester yelled out that everybody but “Pharaoh Bloomberg” was at today’s event.
“Now, look,” Ms. Quinn said, turning around and staring silently at the crowd behind her for a good five seconds.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s prevailing wage bill was the hot topic at his press conference today announcing a plan to fill 2,000 jobs at the future home of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center arena. Though he fielded several questions about the bill today, Mr. Bloomberg said he doesn’t expect to be talking about the issue when he attends Ms. Quinn’s wedding May 19.
Ms. Quinn reportedly modified the bill in order to make sure several developments, including Hudson Yards, went through and, at the press conference, New York Times reporter Kate Taylor asked the mayor why he thinks Ms. Quinn supports the bill if she seemingly recognize it would discourage certain developments.
“I would suggest that you address that question to the Speaker,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “All I know is, I’m going to her wedding, and we’re going to have a good time and I don’t think that living wage is going to come up as a subject at the wedding.”
The dust has barely settled on the grand living wage compromise and progressive forces are already mobilizing for their next initiative. On the steps of City Hall today, City Council Members and labor leaders announced what it would be: a bill requiring businesses to give their employees paid sick days off.
“We were here a year ago. We got close, we thought we were going to finally see passage about a year ago,” Dan Cantor, the Executive Director of the Working Family, announced. “Politics is hard, so we come back now, a year later.”
Things have changed, Mr. Cantor insisted, citing other localities that have passed similar bills, and the Occupy Wall Street protests energizing the public.
Democrats also contend that both legislative tweaks and the political environment make things much more favorable for paid sick day advocates this time around than the start of 2011, when Council Speaker Chris Quinn shelved the legislation.
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State of the City
Christine Quinn and members of the New York City Council announced today that they had come to an agreement on a contentious living wage bill.
The new bill will not require companies in buildings in which the developer has received subsidies from the city to pay a living wage; instead, only those employees of the developers in those buildings will receive the living wage.
“I believe it is fair and appropriate for government to place requirements on a business that has voluntarily entered into an economic development agreement with the city,” Ms. Quinn said. “At the end of the day, they have a choice as to whether or not they want both the money offered to them and the wage requirements. This is a policy that is fair, one that will help workers, will not deter job growth and is one that I am honored to support.”
In his State of the City address today, Mayor Bloomberg will propose something akin to splitting the baby on the living wage fight when he comes down in favor of a boost in the minimum wage.
“The genius of the free market is not always perfect,” Bloomberg said, according to the prepared text of his speech. “Two of our neighbors – Connecticut and Massachusetts – have raised their minimum wage above the Federal standard to address higher costs of living. And so while we would prefer the Federal government to act to keep us competitive, this year, we will join Speaker Shelly Silver in pushing for a responsible raise in the minimum wage.”
The New York Times came out in favor of a living wage bill earlier this week, and today Ed Koch sent a message to his email list outlining his own thoughts on the bill.
In short, the former mayor is against it, even though he favors an increase in the minimum wage.
“I would support a national law creating a minimum wage of $10 plus benefits or $11.50 per hour without benefits, or any other reasonable increase for those at the minimum wage level. But I would do so only if it applied to all states, not simply to New York City,” he writes.