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City Council Overrides Bloomberg’s Living Wage Veto
June 29, 2012
In a significant win for hard-working New York taxpayers, the NYC Council voted overwhelmingly today to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.

The long-overdue legislation affirms what a majority of New Yorkers believe: when tax dollars are used to promote private enterprise, the public has the right to expect something in return: good jobs at good wages.

The veto override successfully closes another chapter in the ongoing campaign for economic justice in the country’s most economically polarized city. The Living Wage NYC Coalition worked to bring unions, community groups, clergy, and elected officials together to help make this happen.

“With this vote to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, the City Council stands firmly on the right side of history. Clergy in New York City are saying, ‘The reign of the rich is over!’ A new day has dawned in New York City. Together — faith leaders, labor leaders, community leaders and elected officials — are changing the culture of New York. We have only just begun to see the fruit of our growing faith-rooted movement for economic justice,” said Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, PhD. from the steps of City Hall just prior to the vote. Rev. Heltzel is the Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary and a leader of the Faith Caucus of the Living Wage NYC Campaign.

Under the terms of the legislation, any private development project directly accepting $1 million or more in taxpayer subsidies must now pay employees a living wage of $10/hour with supplemental health benefits or $11.50/hour without benefits. The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, co-sponsored by Council members Oliver Koppel and Annabel Palma, reforms the city’s taxpayer-funded economic development programs, which have failed to create good jobs for New Yorkers because, until now, they lacked enforceable wage standards of any kind.

“The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act is an important first step in the right direction for ending extreme income inequality in the financial capital of the world. The City Council vote is an affirmation of the people's belief that a living wage is a moral imperative,” said Tasha Williams, President and Co-Founder, the Progressive Democratic Club of East Harlem and Living Wage Coalition activist, at the pre-override vote press conference at City Hall.

“We are proud to have played a lead role in building the living wage movement and shaping this legislation. The city needs to create higher-wage jobs, not poverty-wage jobs. An override of the Mayor’s veto is a major triumph for working people, for democracy, and for our city. It will be a significant step toward reducing inequality and poverty in our city,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW).

“This has been a long and arduous struggle. The City Council made the right decision today for the people that entrusted them to lead our city forward. There is still much work to do and we look forward to continuing to fight for economic justice,” said Rev. Que English, Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church.

“I am pleased with the passage of the living wage bill. This legislation will benefit the city by reducing dependency on government programs increasing consumer spending and adding to our tax revenue,” said City Council Member G. Oliver Koppell, lead sponsor of the bill.

“It’s been a long journey to get here, but with the help of all of our partners, I believe we have succeeded in producing landmark legislation that will immediately help to improve the lives of hundreds of working New Yorkers,” said Council Member Annabel Palma, co-sponsor of the bill.


The People's Override
June 18, 2012

Bloomberg Subverts Peoples’ Will, Vetoes Landmark Living Wage Legislation!
May 31, 2012
Supporters Condemn Billionaire Mayor, Urge Council to Override Veto and Implement Law

New York, NY—Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act today brings into sharp focus his legacy as the billionaire Mayor who enriched his class of friends at the expense of the hardworking taxpayers of New York City.

The Living Wage NYC Coalition urges the City Council to override the Mayor’s veto so the city can move forward with the work at hand, ensuring that tax dollars are used to create good paying jobs for New Yorkers.

“With this veto, Mayor Bloomberg has cemented his legacy as the mayor of the rich, by the rich and for the rich,” said Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, Director, Latino Pastoral Action Center and. “He has missed his opportunity to support New Yorkers as they strive to be productive, contributing citizens.”

The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act grew out of a historic citywide campaign for living wage jobs and economic justice. It passed the New York City Council by a wide margin of 45-5 on April 30, drawing praise from elected officials, labor leaders, faith leaders, and business owners.

“Mayor Bloomberg stands firmly on the wrong side of history. Clergy in New York City are saying, ‘The reign of the rich is over!’ A new day has dawned in New York City,” said Rev. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, PhD., Director, Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary.

The campaign spawned a highly visible and vocal movement that engaged thousands of New Yorkers and led to overwhelming support for the legislation across the political spectrum—74% of voters overall, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, with 60 % percent of Republicans saying it is government’s responsibility to ensure workers are paid a decent wage.

“Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy is one of disrespect: extending his term against the will of the people and now labeling honest working class people as Communist for wanting to earn a decent living wage so they can take care of their families. The Living Wage NYC Coalition will remain in this fight until all workers are treated fairly and paid justly!” exclaimed Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, President, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

“We are proud to have played a lead role in building the living wage movement and shaping this legislation. The city needs to create higher-wage jobs, not poverty-wage jobs. An override of the Mayor’s veto will be a major triumph for working people, for democracy, and for our city. It will be a significant step toward reducing inequality and poverty in our city,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW).