Tag Archives: Living Wage

‘Best’ Living Wage Law Is in San Jose

30 Apr

The long debated and delayed living wage legislation, emanating from an epic land use battle at the Kingsbridge Armory, is coming to a vote today.

A press release drafted by the retail workers union and the Living Wage NYC Coalition, which we received from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office yesterday, states: “Culminating an historic two-year campaign that created a citywide living wage movement that sets the standards for nationwide policies, the final Living Wage Bill will be voted on by the New York City Council at the stated meeting this coming Monday.”

The ” sets-the-standards” language is consistent with Diaz and his staff repeatedly reffering to the legislation as the “best” in the country.

The Council legislation here initially affected retailers in developments receiving taxpayer subsidies. But it was eventually gutted to only include employees of the developer and then further whittled down by Council Speaker Christine Quinn exempting workers at a massive development on the west side of Manhattan. Estimates now indicate that about 400 workers will benefit from the NYC legislation and only if the Council can override the mayor’s vowed veto.

As far as we know, only Riverdale Press reporter Adam Wisnieski  has bothered to check out the claim that this bill is the “best” in the land. He found that through a 1998 law in San Jose, more workers receive higher pay  in a city about an eighth the size of NYC.

Approximately 600 workers were affected in San Jose, a city with less than 1 million people when a living wage law was passed in 1998, according to a study on living wage by the University of Washington. The subsidy threshold is lower than what will be required to trigger the law New York. The definition of “living wage” also changes with the cost of living.

Right now, any developer receiving $100,000 or more in taxpayer subsides in San Jose is required to pay $13.59 per hour with health benefits or $14.84 per hour without benefits, according to the city’s website.

Compare that to New York’s $1 million subsidy threshold and requirement to pay $10 per hour with benefits and $11.50 without, and San Jose has a stronger living wage bill than New York.

And, arguably, a measure in Los Angeles bests the bill here as well, Wisnieski reports.

Is Living Wage Measure a Soviet Plot?

20 Apr

Commenting on the living wage legislation he vociferously opposes — even the ultra-watered-down kind now making it through the City Council — Mayor Bloomberg said on his radio show recently: “The last time we really had a big managed economy was the USSR, and that didn’t work out so well.”

So, is that a worthy comparison in any way? City Limits wondered about this, talked to some actual Soviet experts, and filed this report.

Fresh Direct Opponents and Armory Activists Hit the Streets Tonight

21 Mar

Activists in the south and northwest Bronx are taking to the streets this evening to make their voice heard on two development projects — the Kingsbridge Armory and Fresh Direct respectively.

As Bronx Matters reported yesterday, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition will be rallying in front of the Kingsbridge Armory tonight at 6 p.m. to call for living wage jobs at the massive landmark, schools in the National Guard building behind the armory, and the creation of space for small businesses and community use

Development proposals are due this week for the Kingsbridge Armory (Photo: J. Moss)

The event takes place at the corner of Reservoir Avenue and Kingsbridge Road. Daniel Beekman at the Daily News reports that a development tea called the Kingsbridge National Ice Center seems to be favored by local politicians like Councilman Fernando Cabrera.  More on the rally here.

Activist Harry Bubbins protests the Fresh Direct deal outside the State of the Borough Address in February. (Photo: J. Moss)

South Bronx activists and supporters from other parts of the borough are headed to the upper west side of Manhattan to launch a boycott of Fresh Direct, which is set to build a facility in the Harlem River Yards with an estimated $130 million in taxpayer subsidies. Opponents object that public money is being used to support an effort that they say will deliver more truck traffic to an asthma-prone community and block efforts to build the Harlem River Greenway. More info from the press release after the jump.