In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made good on his promise to sue the city’s legislative branch in order to halt two wage laws from going in effect for private sector security guards, janitors, and service employees that work at companies which receive government subsidies.
The legal action comes after the court upheld the New York City Council’s override of the Mayor’s wage bill vetoes. The Mayor’s lawsuits are based in his belief that only state and federal governments have jurisdiction to set minimum wages. City Council speaker Christine Quinn says she is confident that the laws will stand up to any legal challenge.
“It is disappointing that the mayor has chosen to challenge these laws rather than enforce them,” she wrote. “The Council stands by this legislation, and we look forward to proving our case in court.”
The living wage bill would boost workers minimum earnings to $11.50 an hour, or $10 with benefits at companies which receive at least $1 million in city subsidies. A second, prevailing wage bill would raise wages for workers at 41 buildings that receive city tax breaks. Their wages would be determined by city Comptroller John Liu using a prevailing wage scale.
Mayor Bloomberg has said that the bills discourage companies from doing business in the city and that they encroach on his sole right to set the terms of real estate deals involving the city. Bloomberg’s vehement, misguided effort to fight for lower wages ignores the most important aspect of the equation: the men and women who live and work in New York.