New York Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Wright struck down a New York City requirement for landlords and companies receiving economic aid from the city to pay workers prevailing wage. Wright said it was preempted by the state’s minimum wage law; the new measure would have raised the minimum wage for some private employees. The court believes the Prevailing Wage Law could benefit New York and does not agree with the mayor about bringing business which would pay service employees less than prevailing wage.
The bill, overriding the mayor’s veto, would have mandated the payment of a prevailing wage to service employees in commercial and residential buildings whose employers receive at least $1 million in economic development aid from the city. The law required that the prevailing wage calculated annually by the city comptroller be paid to workers in businesses that receive more than $1 million in city tax abatements or low-interest financing.
The mayor has said that this legislation makes it harder for companies to invest in New York City. The city council disagrees with Wright’s decision and will take the necessary steps to overturn the ruling.
Objective research has demonstrated that states with prevailing wage laws are reducing occupational injuries, increasing the pool of skilled workers, building better facilities, and increasing state revenues with a better-employed and more highly skilled workforce. In the long run, it is best to use a prevailing wage law to ensure the best possible workforce and benefit the city.