As expected, the New York City Council voted Thursday evening to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of a measure that would raise the minimum wage of employees of some companies that receive public subsidies to $11.50 an hour, or $10 an hour with benefits.
The vote means that Big Apple businesses that have received $1 million or more of economic development aid from the public will see their payroll expenses rise if any of their employees earn less than the new law mandates.
When we use taxpayer dollars for any purpose, we should expect it will result in the maximum public good to the city, said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who has said she intends to run for mayor next year. If we provide a taxpayer subsidy in exchange for jobs, we should expect jobs that pay a better wage than the minimum wage.
New York City, with some of the highest cost of living expenses in the country, adheres to the $7.25 federal minimum wage rate.
A representative of the mayor's office said Bloomberg has no further comments on the issue. The mayor had vowed to sue to block the law from taking effect should the City Council vote to override his veto.
Local labor rights organizations have hailed the Council's move as a step in the right direction toward a living wage for the city's lowest income earners. However, the mayor and city businesses say the wage increase is effectively being funded by public money since it applies only to those employers that have received economic development assistance.
BRIGHTON CAR WASHERS SUE
Meanwhile, workers at a Brooklyn car wash are suing their employer, claiming that they make less than the federally required $7.25 an hour when factoring in their employer's alleged tip-garnishing and lack of overtime pay.
The work is good, but what isn't good is the salary and the mistreatment, Aaron Morales Romero, 23, an employee of Hi-Tek Car Wash & Lube, told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. Sometimes they would call us on our days off, and not give us overtime . . . the way my co-workers are still working is a disaster.
Gary Pinkus, a Hi-Tek manager, denied the allegations of wage-law violations and said WASH New York is trying to drum up controversy in its campaign to unionize the city's many car washers.
These workers are found at coin-operated and automated wash facilities doing detail work on vehicles for as much as 105 hours a week, according to the organization.