Although the city’s lowest paid workers are in need higher salaries – they are currently paid the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour - the recent attempts from the City Council to push through the “prevailing wage bill” is a failed approach.
A long-fought battle between the City Council to raise pay for the lowest hourly income employees to $10 an hour with benefits and $11.50 without, has seemed to come to an end in court with the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The law aimed to mandate higher union-level wages for security guards, custodians and building service workers that receive government subsidies.
After overriding the administration’s veto, Bloomberg sued the city Council, sending the case to state court.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Write shot down the proposal yesterday, stating its attempts to raise the minimum wage was invalid as it was obstructed by the current state minimum wage.
You would think that was the end.
“We disagree with the judge’s decision and it will take appropriate legal steps to have it overturned,” said Council spokesperson Jamie McShane following the decision.
Speaker Christine Quinn, currently seeking Bloomberg’s seat in the 2013 mayoral election, has used the position as a platform for her campaign and gathered support of unions like Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and the building service workers union.
Julie Ward, a spokesperson for the mayor, said, “This ill-conceived legislation threatened some of the most important job-creating projects in the city. Legislation like this makes it harder for companies to invest in NYC at a time when we need to be making it easier.”
While it is true the lowest paid workers in NYC are struggling in an economy that seems to have left them behind, the solution isn’t to create another obstacle for current and future employers.
To avoid an unfair balance and create a fair living wage for all employees, the City Council should petition Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise the minimum wage statewide quicker than the projected increase to $9 over the next three years, not try to take the matter into their own hands.
It's time for the City Council to abide by the judge's decision and drop the appeal.