City divided on pitched living wage legislation

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The City Council is mulling over a living wage bill that supporters say is long overdue, but that foes vow they will never accept.

The bill, which the Council discussed Tuesday afternoon, would require higher pay for those working minimum-pay jobs in projects subsidized by the city.

Projects that receive at least $1 million in city money to be constructed should pay people working at, for example, a Taco Bell in the finished buildings at least $10 an hour, supporters say. The minimum wage right now is $7.25.

The law would not be retroactive; should it pass, it would only apply to new construction projects.

Cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco already mandate higher minimum wages.

Many Council members support the bill, although Speaker Christine Quinn has not publicly taken a stance on the divisive issue.

Opponents include the Real Estate Board of New York, a powerful group of landlords.

REBNY’s president, Steven Spinola, has argued that the mandated added expense would mean employers would choose not to hire new employees.


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