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CUNY Forum: “New York’s Living Wage Battle: Economic Development & Community Benefits in the Big Apple”

January 5, 2011
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The CUNY Forum is a monthly town meeting that brings prominent New Yorkers together with faculty and students of the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

Moderator Bob Liff and a panel of experts debate the highly controversial “living wage” bill, which is currently being considered in the New York City Council. In May 2010, a major economic revitalization project in the Bronx—at the Kingsbridge Armory—was scuttled by a requirement that its developers and tenants pay a higher hourly wage than the Federal and City minimum. Elected officials and their union allies argued that developers receiving public support and subsidy provide workers with additional earnings. Developers argued that wage requirements were unsustainable and anathema to the free market. In the end, the $310 Million, 575,000 square foot development was never built and the Kingsbridge Armory remains dormant. Now, the debate over a living wage requirement continues throughout New York City, as well as in cities around the nation. The fault lines in this debate are exhibited in a spirited battle at the September 28 “CUNY Forum.”

Prod.: by CUNY-TV and the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.


Jeff Eichler
Coordinator of the RWDSU Retail Organizing Project (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union)

Bob Liff
Senior Vice President, George Arzt Communications

Stephanie Luce
Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, The City University of New York

Melissa Mark-Viverito
New York City Council, District 8

Fred Siegel
Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Civic Innovation