De Blasio would look to state for help paying $15 minimum wage to contractors UPDATED
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for a $15 minimum wage in Albany will likely be accompanied by another ask: additional funding for contracted personnel.
Months after de Blasio began prodding the state Legislature to authorize a $15 minimum wage for all workers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his executive authority to raise the wage floor for some workers this week, announcing all state workers would earn $15 an hour by 2021. The move came with a suggestion that de Blasio do the same. The mayor’s administration pointed out municipal contracts put most workers ahead of their state counterparts on the track to $15 an hour.
Contracted workers are another matter.
De Blasio’s staff has indicated it would turn to the state for funds should it need to pay at least $15 an hour to staff at the thousands of mostly nonprofits contracted to do social service work with seniors, the homeless and other city residents
This year the de Blasio administration included nearly $60 million in the budget to ensure these contractors pay personnel at least $11.50 an hour. Council members responded with praise – and a push to get that sector earning at least $15 an hour. Bronx City Councilwoman Carmen Arroyo asked how the mayor envisioned turning his $15 an hour minimum wage campaign into a reality for contractors, at a hearing on the matter earlier this month.
“Where does the money come from?” Arroyo said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “Do we go print it at City Hall … or is this going to be another one of those unfunded mandates that we often talk about? It feels good. It’s a nice press release, a nice press conference. At the end of the day, the revenue of the city is what it is. How do we accommodate?”
In response, P.V. Anantharam, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget said, “We definitely hope that any increases that come as a result of state legislation will bring funding along with it.”
De Blasio’s staff said the state pays a portion of the city's human service contracts. The city anticipates that the proportion would stay the same, but because the contracts would cost more the state would be sending more money to the city. The administration added that it would be "premature" to provide more details at this time.
De Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said the mayor would not let up on his push to elevate the minimum wage.
“Our labor agreements already put city employees ahead of the state’s minimum wage phase-in for New York City employees, through the end of our contracts,” Spitalnick said in a statement. “Of course the mayor will continue to fight to ensure all workers, across every industry, make a wage on which their families can live.”
The report has been updated to reflect additional information provided by the de Blasio administration.