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Living Wage NYC Supporters Critique Mayor's Study

August 13, 2010

"The real question is, do we want to have jobs for people so they can feed their family?" – Mayor Bloomberg, New York Post, Aug. 10, 2010

Yes, we do want jobs that pay enough to feed our families. In order for that to happen, New Yorkers need jobs that pay a living wage. That's why living wage supporters are criticizing the EDC's rigged living wage study. This study is being spearheaded by Charles River Associates, a management consulting firm out of Boston. The economist David Neumark, one of the most vociferous opponents not just of a living wage but minimum wage, is part of the team. "This is not a research project. This is a tactical delay," said Jeff Eichler of the RWDSU.

"The company lists as senior consultants two of the country's most consistent critics of living wage and minimum wage policies," said Annette Bernhardt, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project in Crain’s. "We would have hoped the city would have chosen a more balanced research team." Indeed, the Gotham Gazette and the New York Observer  point out that the study is hardly objective, and point out that advocates are questioning the objectivity of the study’s team.

The Neighborhood Retail Alliance draws more criticism toward the choice of using Charles River Associates to conduct this study.

According to the Gotham Gazette, this study could prove damaging for progress to be made in enacting meaningful legislation like the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act and the Good Jobs Bill: “The move has effectively stalled two pieces of living wage legislation at the council — one to require a living wage for building service workers at city-assisted developments and another that would require all city subsidized developments pay a living wage.”