Fight for fair wage, minimum wage continues
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 5/25/2012, 11:07 a.m.
In a 44-4, vote the New York City Council overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of the prevailing wage bill Tuesday. The bill will give more money to employees working on developments that benefit from city funding. Bloomberg has vowed to take the bill to court to overturn it.
"The vast majority of us at the City Council believe that when businesses decide of their own free will to take city subsidies or take a high level of city tenants, it is appropriate for us to put a fair additional wage requirement on them," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a press conference.
The vote comes as a shock to many, since Bloomberg and Quinn are allegedly supporting each other. Bloomberg recently gave his blessing to Quinn to be the city's next mayor. However, he had choice words about the City Council's veto.
"They should have looked in the mirror before they voted for it. They should have looked in the mirror before they overrode it," said Bloomberg at a press conference when asked about the veto. "In this day and age, this is not appropriate legislation if we want to get companies to come here,"
Bloomberg has stayed firm on his original veto, saying that giving certain workers higher wages and forcing companies do to so would be bad for the city's economy. It could even cause companies to not consider developing in New York, and Bloomberg's administration has vowed to litigate the issue in court to get their way.
All this action goes on as the war to raise the minimum wage heats up in Albany. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that raising New York State's minimum wage would be "impossible," blaming the Republican-led state Senate.
On the radio, Cuomo said that he supports a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8.50. However, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos reportedly said that the conversation won't make it to the floor. Increasing the minimum wage would take away jobs, increase taxes and take away benefits, according to Skelos.
"The Assembly has put forth a bill. I support the concept of a minimum wage increase, as you know," Cuomo said in a recent interview. "I think it would be appropriate. The Senate does not agree and the Senate feels quite strongly about their position."
Advocates for increasing the minimum wage say that Cuomo has the power to make it happen. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Project, said reduced taxes for millionaires can now be balanced by increasing the minimum wage.
"It is time for New York to stop neglecting its lowest paid workers. Governor Cuomo can make history and significantly help the economy by standing up for a strong minimum wage that keeps pace with the cost of living and rewards the hard work that millions of low-wage New Yorkers do every day," Owens said.