In clash with Bloomberg, Quinn vows to appeal ‘prevailing wage’ law court ruling

Speaker Quinn with Members of Local 32BJ after vowing to appeal the "prevailing wage" court decision. Credit: William Alatriste
Speaker Quinn with Members of Local 32BJ after vowing to appeal the “prevailing wage” court decision.
Credit: William Alatriste

Saying this was only a “minor setback,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other members vowed Tuesday they would appeal a court ruling that struck down the “prevailing wage” law.

“Make no mistake, we will appeal and we will be victorious in our efforts,” Quinn said surrounded by members of Local 32BJ SEIU, which represents property service workers in the city.

Passed by City Council last year, the legislation would have raised wages for building service employees who worked on properties receiving significant government subsidies or where the city is a major tenant.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the legislation and his administration later sued the council over the bill in state court when his veto was overridden—two “wrongheaded” decisions, according to Quinn.

On Monday, state judge Geoffrey D. S. Wright ruled the law was invalid because the state’s minimum wage law preempted it.

“We knew that argument might be raised from day one. We’re prepared for it,” Quinn said Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg, Julie Wood, said in a statement that the legislation was “ill-conceived.”

“Legislation like this makes it harder for companies to invest in New York City, at a time when we need to be making it easier,” Wood said.

According to Quinn, the law would benefit at least 3,000 additional workers.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, who sponsored the bill, said the city shouldn’t give away subsidies for buildings without giving back to workers.

“Who loses out here are the workers,” Mark-Viverito said.

Quinn said she didn’t know how long the appeal process would take or the soonest the bill could take effect.

“Obviously, you’re a little bit on the court’s timeline, but we’re not going to let any grass grow under our feet in this situation,” she said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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