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Bloomberg Sues NYC Council over Wage Bills
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On Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed a lawsuit aimed at invalidating two wage laws meant for helping workers whose employers receive financial assistance from the city. In the complaint Bloomberg said that the Prevailing Wage Law and the Living Wage Law were inconsistent with state and federal minimum-wage statutes and curbed the power of the mayor unlawfully.

Both laws had been passed by the city council after overriding vetoes by Bloomberg. The Prevailing Wage Law was enacted in May and the Living Wage Law in June.

The complaint mentioned, “The mayor vetoed these local laws because he believes them to be illegal and because he believes that they will harm the city’s efforts to continue to attract and generate the business activity that is necessary to support the local economy and the services of New York City government.”


The Living Wage Law requires companies or individuals who receive more than $1 million financial assistance from the city to pay workers at least $10 per hour with benefits. The Prevailing Wage Law requires that service workers and janitors at buildings that receive tax breaks from the city be paid the prevailing wages determined by the city comptroller’s office for government contractors.

In his veto against the Living Wage Law, Bloomberg had said the bill would “make it harder for companies – which have the option to do business anywhere – to make decisions to invest in New York.”

Commenting on the Prevailing Wage Bill, earlier, on April 25, Bloomberg had said that permitting the city comptroller to decide wages to the private sector would result in “market distortions that cost the taxpayers’ money.”

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In a statement made on Friday, New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said that the New York Court of Appeals had held previously that deciding minimum wages is delegated to state and not to local governments. Cardozo said, “To the extent that the local laws frustrate the purpose of state laws and interfere with state economic development programs, they are pre-empted.”



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