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Baruch College Poll: NY Voters Back Living Wage
Daily Politics / New York Daily News
Celeste Katz

May 19, 2011
View the Original Article

New York voters like the concept of a "living wage," which is encapsulated in controversial legislation that was the subject of a heated hearing last week, according to a new poll out this morning from Baruch College Survey Research.

Supporters call the legislation, which would set higher-than-mimimum-wage pay for workers on larger city-funded projects, "economic justice." Opponents, including the Bloomberg Administration, say it would only have a dampening effect on economic development.

The poll found New Yorkers support:
• requiring employers to give all workers at least 5 paid sick days per year: 89% v. 8% opposed.
• raising the state minimum wage from the current $7.15/hour to $10 by 2012: 88% v. 9%.
• requiring employers that get taxpayer-funded city subsidies to pay $10/hour plus health benefits: 78% v. 15%.

The BCSR poll also found:

Nearly two-thirds of adult New Yorkers oppose curbing the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions -- 63%, with 40% strongly opposing limits on union negotiations over conditions of employment. About a quarter (26%) favor taking away some public employee collective bargaining rights.

New Yorkers are split over the question of the extent of the influence that labor unions have on American life and politics today, with 30% saying that unions have too much influence, 27% say too little, and 30% about the right amount of influence. About one in 10 (12%) are not sure about the extent of labor union influence. In one view, 6 in 10 New Yorkers support continued or enhanced, union influence over American life and politics (57%); in another, 6 in 10 New Yorkers (60%) want to hold the line on or reduce labor union influence.

New Yorkers also divide over whether the salaries and benefits of most public employees are too high, too low, or about right for the work they do: 34% say that public employee compensation packages are generally appropriate for the work they perform, while those who see them as undercompensated outnumber who say the opposite -- 28% vs. 20%. About one in 10 of (9%) those surveyed volunteered that "it depends" and another one in 10 (8%) weren't sure.