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Prevailing Wage Act Approved By Council To Boost Some Service Workers' Wages

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TWC News: Prevailing Wage Act Approved By Council To Boost Some Service Workers' Wages
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Two years after it was first proposed, the City Council approved the Prevailing Wage Act, a piece of legislation that mandates wage standards for building service workers at city subsidized developments. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report/. was there and filed this report.

Guarding doors could get a bit more expensive, as the City Council approved on Wednesday legislation to create a standard wage for building service workers at some of the city's major development projects, similar to this one.

"Its been a real labor of love," said Manhattan-Bronx Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Workers in projects that receive more than $1 million in city subsidies or in buildings where the city leases a majority of the space will all have a set wage, for some growing to more than $20 an hour.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to veto the bill.

"Just veto the bill. We'll put a veto message out and there will be a message as to why. It's terrible legislation," Bloomberg said on Tuesday.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she has the votes to override the mayor.

"We have spoken and we disagree and we will have more than enough votes to override the veto," said Quinn.

Despite opposition to the proposal, council officials said the legislation will actually only affect about 41 buildings and a couple hundred workers. That is because a vast majority of the building service workers in the city already receive a prevailing wage.

Quinn said it is about going forward.

"We're talking here really about stabilizing an industry by catching those outliers who really aren't paying a prevailing wage and have the ability to pull the rest of the industry down," said Quinn.

The bill was pushed by one of the city's most powerful unions, SIEU Local 32BJ.

"The speaker of the city council did a good job of moving the bill through an intricate political landscape at the City Council," said Local 32BJ member Hector Figueroa.

With that praise in mind, some said Quinn decided to support it. Yet the speaker said it has nothing to do with her likely run for mayor next year.

"The goal here was about helping people and doing it in a responsible way that was pro-job growth and not anti-job growth," said Quinn. "And that's why we worked on it for two years and those were the factors driving us, not politics or anything else."

These wage standards are set by the city comptroller's office, which hailed the proposal.

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