NYC Prevailing Wage Law Struck Down By State Supreme Court; Quinn Vows To Challenge

By Colby Hamilton

NEW YORK CITY — A state Supreme Court judge rejected the city’s prevailing wage law for specific city-supported projects on Monday, signaling a win for the mayor.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg sued last year to stop the legislation from being enacted, claiming primarily that the law preempted the state’s minimum wage law.

Judge Geoffrey Wright regretfully ruled in favor of the mayor, citing a number of precedents that held city minimum wage rates could not supersede the state’s wage rate.

“It is with great compunction that this Court renders this decision as this Court recognizes the benefit that such a law would provide,” Judge Wright wrote in his decision, going on to question “the wisdom in the Mayor's zeal for the possibility of welcoming to New York City a business that would pay its building service employees less than the prevailing wage.”

The law, passed in 2012, would have guaranteed workers higher than minimum wage pay rates in organizations or businesses that received $1 million or more in city subsidies or development aid. The bill also would affect building services workers in places where certain agencies or businesses with city contracts were located.

“This ill-conceived legislation threatened some of the most important job-creating projects in the city,” said Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the mayor. “Legislation like this makes it harder for companies to invest in New York City, at a time when we need to be making it easier.

Jamie McShane, a spokesman for Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office, in a statement, said, “We disagree with the judge’s decision and will take appropriate legal steps to have it overturned.”



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