NYC ends legal fight over 'prevailing wage' law covering some building-services workers

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NEW YORK — City officials have ended a legal challenge to a "prevailing wage" law for some building-services workers, paving the way for its implementation.

A Manhattan judge signed off Friday on a move by both sides to end the mayor vs. City Council dispute, which arose during former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office in January, had promised to implement the law.

"Today's ruling will now allow the administration to advance its goal of expanding the number of jobs that pay a living wage to hardworking New Yorkers," city lawyer Jeff Friedlander said in a statement.

The measure guarantees pay topping $20 an hour for security guards, janitors, handymen and other workers at buildings that that get more than $1 million in city subsidies or lease significant space to the city.

Bloomberg vetoed it in 2012, saying it would discourage companies from doing business in the city.

"While this bill would result in higher wages for some workers, these increases would come at the cost of job creation," he wrote in a veto message.

Then he sued the City Council after it overrode his veto.

A judge struck down the measure last year, saying state minimum wage pre-empted the city measure. The City Council appealed, as did the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said the ruling is a "great step for working people in New York."

"We are pleased that the mayor can push for the advancement of more jobs that pay a living wage to low wage workers," he said in a statement. "Now, every-day, working people will be able to afford to live in New York City."

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