Saturday, August 08, 2015

Had NYC subsidies been delivered after June 2012, living wage law would require Barclays Center jobs to pay at least $13.13 an hour, not $10.50

Had New York City's $179 million in financial assistance for the Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards been received after 6/28/12, when a new city living wage law tied to city subsidies was enacted, workers at the Barclays Center would have to start at nearly $3 more than than $10.50 an hour.

However, even though the arena opened in September 2012, after the law went into effect, the project was grandfathered in, because the subsidies came yeares earlier.

I wrote last month how the $10.50 starting wage and $12 wage for some other jobs do not represent "living wage," since the jobs are part-time and don't come with benefit. Also, those figures fall well below the Living Wage Calculator from MIT, which says the living wage in Brooklyn for a single adult working 40 hours a week is $14.30,

What I didn't point out it is how the city itself has redefined "living wage" to a $13.13 floor. A 9/30/14 city press release:
Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed an executive order enacting a sweeping expansion of New York City’s Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. Effective immediately, commercial tenants at projects that receive more than $1 million in City subsidy will be covered by Living Wage provisions, and the Living Wage itself will be raised to from $11.90 to $13.13 per hour—likely reaching $15.22 per hour by 2019.
Many exemptions

A 6/23/15 article in City and State, LIVING WAGE EXEMPTIONS ABOUND FOR NONPROFITS, noted that "76 percent of projects administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation since de Blasio took office have been exempt from the living wage law," many because they are nonprofits.

The “Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act” (see below) aims to require "a living wage to employees employed on property developed by recipients of financial assistance for economic development."
There are many exemptions, however. 

Exempted are small businesses, which have annual gross revenues of less than $5 million; not-for-profit organizations; manufacturing employers; projects in which "residential units comprise more than 75% of the project area, and no less than 75% of the residential units are affordable for families earning less than 125% of the area median income"; a grocery store participating in the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program; a construction contractor or a building services contractor; part of the Hudson Yards project.

However, the "provisions of this section shall not apply to any financial assistance that was provided prior to the enactment of the local law that added this section."

If not for that, by my reading, Atlantic Yards and the Barclays Center would be subject to the law.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Thanks to Quinn.
    An alteration to a project could trigger a new review or Inducement Amendment and that would trigger Living Wage, and there have been a number of changes that might rise to that level. Litigation ought to test it.