City Council Set To Override Bloomberg's Veto On Living Wage Bill
Nearly 100 New Yorkers from coalitions across the city stood on the steps of City Hall this afternoon to claim victory for the Living Wage Bill.
The bill will require companies that receive $1 million in city subsidies to pay their employees a minimum wage of $10 -- $11.50 if the employee does not have healthcare coverage.
Earlier this month Bloomberg vetoed the bill, arguing that an increase in wages would "threaten job creation and future city projects." While the living wage bill has been quite controversial, largely due to the Mayor's threat to file a lawsuit if the council overrides his veto, members of the city council such as Tisha James intend to vote to override the Mayor's decision this afternoon.
"I proudly cast my vote to override this veto," said council member James to a cheering crowd. "Because I do not want to be on the side of history that would rob a city's people and their children of a living wage."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has called it "the most impactful living wage law in the United States" and has helped make significant amendments to the document in a effort to get it passed. While the bill will now require companies that directly receive city subsidies to pay higher wages to employees it does not mandate the same for companies that are tenants in the subsidized developments.
The fight for this bill has taken nearly three years, with Stuart Applebaum and his coalition RWDSU (Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union) leading the way among other organizations such as FUREE (Families United For Racial and Economic Equality), Community Voices and the Retail Action Project.
While supporters of the bill are claiming victory they acknowledge the bill has a long way to go. Following its many revisions, the bill is estimated to only impact 400-500 workers a year.
"This bill is not everything we wanted," said Applebaum. "But it establishes a very important move forward that government jobs should not be there if they do not allow people to support themselves and their families."
Much like last month's veto override for pay raises for service workers at buildings that receive tax breaks from the city, the living wage bill has enough council votes and is expected to be passed. The city council will vote today around 3 p.m.
Check out more photos from the demonstration below.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.