By Rebecca Henely
The City Council passed a bill Monday to raise the minimum wage for employees of private companies receiving large sums of city funds, overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto, but three Queens councilmen said no.
Councilmen Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) were three of only five Council members to vote against living wage legislation, which would require private firms that get $1 million or more in city subsidies to pay their employees a minimum of $10 an hour with supplemental health benefits or $11.50 without benefits. The legislation is expected to benefit 600 workers a year.
The vote was an override of an April 25 veto of the bill by Bloomberg. The other two City Councilmen who voted against the legislation were Council Minority Leader James Oddo (R-Staten Island) and Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-Staten Island).
State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) slammed Halloran for his vote. Both are running for the same congressional seat.
“Mr. Halloran’s ‘no’ vote on the living wage bill in the City Council was a slap in the face to working New Yorkers desperately struggling to get by in this economy,” Lancman said in a statement.
Halloran fired back in a statement of his own Tuesday, arguing that raising the wage floor prevents businesses from creating more jobs.
“Perhaps if the government stopped taking 40 percent of working people’s paychecks in taxes, they could survive on this so-called ‘living wage,’” Halloran said.
Lancman accused Halloran of being a corporate shill later in the day.
“The living wage bill also stops the race to the bottom, where companies compete with each other to pay their workers less and less in wages in benefits,” he said.