City Council Speaker Christine Quinn introduced legislation Friday to require higher wages for workers on city-subsided economic development projects — a move that could end debate over the city’s role in bolstering the middle class and spurring business.
The bill would require hourly pay of $10 with benefits, or $11.50 without, on projects receiving $1 million or more in city support. The language of the bill does not include the so-called executive waiver that would give the mayor power to permit lower wages on some projects.
But the measure does include several carve-outs and exemptions designed to make it more palatable to business:
- "Small businesses" with annual revenues of less than $5 million need not pay the higher wage, nor must nonprofits or manufacturers.
- Workers on housing developments with 75 percent or more affordable units will also not be guaranteed higher wages.
- A small slice of the vast Hudson Yards development on Manhattan's West Side will be grandfathered out of the agreement, because discussions between property owners, developers, and the city are advanced.
- Businesses that rent space in subsidized projects are not required to pay the higher wage
Quinn estimates 600 workers per year will benefit from the law, which also sets a goal of raising the wages for three-quarters of all workers on city-sponsored developments.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he opposes "living wage" laws, but there is likely a majority in the Council to override his veto.
Quinn has scheduled a vote on the bill for April 30.