NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg stirred the waters with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Wednesday, as two of the city’s highest profile political figures volleyed statements regarding the proposed prevailing wage bill.
Bloomberg vetoed Introductory 18-A, a law, which establishes a prevailing wage requirement for building service employees in city-leased or financially assisted facilities. It was sent to the mayor for approval on March 28.
“I share the City Council’s desire to see people earn higher wages and salaries, but there are no short-cuts. Government cannot bend the laws of the labor market without breaking the bank—and destroying job prospects for people who most need work. Unemployment is still much too high in the city, and these bills will do nothing to help lower it,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Speaker Quinn took to Twitter, saying she was disappointed in Bloomberg’s views Wednesday.
In a lengthy statement released by the speaker, Quinn reminded Bloomberg that he signed a similar bill in 2002 giving prevailing and living wage requirements for home health aides, day care workers, and some building service workers whose companies have contracts with the city.
“And let’s remember that when the mayor signed this bill in 2002, it did not hurt New York’s economy,” Quinn said in a statement. “In fact, it was done during a recession and before one of the greatest economic booms in our city’s history—a boom Mayor Bloomberg and the council can be proud of helping create.”
Bloomberg vowed to veto the living wage bill as well. “The living wage bill, when passed, would be even more costly to taxpayers. That bill would require businesses that receive more than $1 million in tax abatements or other incentives from the city to pay all of their workers at least $10 an hour with benefits, or $11.50 an hour without benefits, even though a business across the street, or next door, would not have to pay those higher wages,” Bloomberg said.
Quinn said she stands by both pieces of legislation, adding, “My colleagues and I look forward to overriding the mayor’s veto.”
Bloomberg urged the council to not override his vetoes, claiming, “both bills are based on legally dubious theories, and if they become law, we will challenge them in court.”