Some important news in the ongoing living wage battle in New York — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed today a compromise that would require higher wages at city-subsidized developments. Companies subsidized by the city would have to pay employees $10 an hour plus benefits, instead of the current $7.25 minimum hourly wage.
As Crain’s New York Business first reported, the compromise is that it allows for the direct employees of tax-break recipients to receive the higher wage — but not their tenants.
Quinn, a likely mayoral candidate, was navigating the dueling interests of those who support higher wages (the unions) and those who charge that the living wage would lead to job losses (Blooomberg).
“The requirement that tenants in subsidized projects pay more when the city has no financial connection with them…would have cost us future retail jobs,” Quinn said in the Crains article.
Runnin’ Scared’s inbox was flooded with statements of approval this afternoon — some from folks who yesterday, at the mayor’s State of the City, said they were disappointed that the living wage issue was not discussed. (The mayor did announce that he would push for a raise in the minimum wage).
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s statement got to us first. He said, “The future of New York City’s middle class hinges on reducing income inequality — this is why I have been a supporter of a strong Living Wage measure. I am pleased the City Council today announced a plan to advance a Living Wage bill. This bill is a good step towards moving families out of poverty and putting them on the path to the middle class, but it must not be our last.”
Comptroller John Liu said this plan will “help reverse the widening wealth gap in our City,” adding that, “The City Council and the Living Wage Coalition are to be commended for their tenacious effort in getting this accomplished.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took a break from challenging one part of the mayor’s speech to applaud the compromise: “In the world’s wealthiest city and nation, poverty, hunger, and homelessness are rising at alarming rates….For all of these reasons, I am pleased that an agreement has been reached among all stakeholders on a Living Wage bill for New York City. More than 15 cities across the country have passed similar laws, and I am proud that New York will be joining that list.”
All three are possible mayoral candidates, and all three were pretty critical of Bloomberg’s speech yesterday.