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Living Wage, Again

Living Wage, Again

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Independent Budget Office Web Blog

Amid the uproar during the past few weeks over the proposed living wage law there’s one important point that you might have missed: the city already has a living-wage law. Its rules cover thousands of workers employed under more than $1 billion worth of contracts with the city.  In fact, New York City had one of the first living-wage laws in the country, though the city’s first bill covered just a couple thousand workers. Passed in 1996, over the veto of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the legislation was championed by advocacy organizations such as the Industrial Areas Foundation as well as local unions. It required that private firms contracting with the city to provide food services, security guards, cleaners, and temporary office workers pay their employees a living wage that ranged at the time from about $7.25 to $12 an hour.