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Union Pushes "Living Wage" Bill
NY Daily News
Celeste Katz

May 24, 2010
View the Original Article


As the City Council prepares tomorrow to field a bill on higher wages for workers on projects that receive public funding, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) is funding a cable ad to draw attention to the subject.

"Development that merely creates permanent poverty wage jobs accomplishes nothing. Too many people in this city are hurting, worrying about how they will survive, unable to find good jobs. We need to put the interests of the people of this city above those of private developers. When the public's resources are used to support private development, the public has the right to expect something in return - and for us that means good jobs, jobs that pay living wages," said RWDSU's Stu Appelbaum.

And here's what Mayor Bloomberg had to say during his Q&A session with reporters this morning:

"The issue here is there are a bunch of projects that don't work on their own, and the city thinks that they have merit, and so we subsidize them. Those are not projects that could stand higher costs. If anything, they have lower costs. And I think if you had a bill like that, just a lot of them just would not go through. And we're trying to build more affordable housing. We're trying to provide more services for the elderly. A lot of those jobs just, the economics don't work if you have to pay more. And I think you saw the damage that can be done when Kingsbridge Armory was the case. Instead of having some jobs for people that may not pay as much as they would like but at least give them a leg up in starting up the economic ladder, and without having the stores that would have given people in the neighborhood the ability to buy more things cheaper and more closer to home, we have nothing. And that's exactly what this bill would do. It's a nice idea, but is poorly thought out and will not work."