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As Poverty Rises, Mayor Attempts to Derail Living Wage

October 17, 2011

In a a powerful column, featured in the New York Times, Michael Powell points to the Bloomberg administration’s failures in addressing the dramatically rising rate of one in five New Yorkers who now live in poverty. This piece comes on the heels of a Bloomberg-commissioned million-dollar "living wage" study, which says a living wage would actually hurt low-wage workers.

According to PolitckerNY, a number of economists are saying that the city’s methodology was so flawed that it was almost “deliberately misleading,” and in Crain’s New York, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project called the study “complete junk science.” Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York added: “If struggling New Yorkers can’t get a leg up working at subsidized mega‐developments, what does that say about the city's economic development priorities?”

Meanwhile, in the Huffington Post Living Wage NYC Faith Caucus leader Rev. Peter Heltzel called it “immoral” that the mayor “used a million dollars of taxpayer money to pay for a study that tells them that they don't deserve a living wage!” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the study was “biased and scientifically defective.”

Even New York City Comptroller John Liu chimed in: “This million dollar report is so flawed it’s not worth the bandwidth for a download.”

The study came out just after Living Wage NYC, representing many thousands of New Yorkers from across the city, announced that it fully endorses the revisions to the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. There is broad consensus that these are pragmatic changes that will strengthen the bill and enable it to move forward with greater support. Click here to find out more about these changes.

The Living Wage NYC coalition is gearing up for a major citywide event, "Many Voices, One Goal: A Thanksgiving Rally for Living Wages" on November 21st. To find out more about Living Wage NYC’s battle to combat poverty through public policy, be sure to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our website: www.livingwagenyc.org.