NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Opponents took their fight to the steps of City Hall Wednesday to protest the “Living Wage” bill in front of New York City Council.
The bill, if enacted, would require any company receiving city contracts or subsidies to pay their workers a minimum of $10 per hour with benefits or $11.50 per hour without benefits. The federal minimum wage comparatively is $7.25 an hour.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports From City Hall
Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, branded the bill a job killer.
“In city after city, wherever wage mandates have been tried, the very people who are supposed to benefit are hurt the most,” she said.
However, Councilman Oliver Koppel says the fears of the business community are unfounded.
“This is not a threat to economic development. It is a real attempt to make legitimate, decent jobs available,” he said, stressing that the wage applied only where developers got heavy taxpayer subsidies.
Still, small business are not convinced and said the measure would discourage economic growth.
“What retailer in their right mind is going to agree to sign leases in a place where they have to pay their employees 50 percent more than the minimum wage and the people down the block,” Jack Friedman, of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said.
While those in the business community ask City Council to give them a break, Koppel says the city is just trying to fight poverty.
“What we’re doing right now is we’re building projects where people get jobs that can’t support their families,” he said.