Friday, March 30, 2012


  On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, the Council passed the Prevailing Wage Bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Oliver Koppell, that would require building owners to pay building service employees the “prevailing wage”, at least the same amount that government contractors pay their workers, in facilities that the city subsidizes or where the city leases space.   Among the categories of building services workers covered by the legislation are building cleaners, porters, janitors, gardeners, firemen, elevator operators, security guards,  door persons and  window cleaners.     
  Every year, the New York City Comptroller determines the prevailing wage schedule for building service employees, which is in the broad range of $20 an hour, but  varies based on the size, age and condition of the building/project in which the employee works and the building service employee’s tenure. The Comptroller is also responsible for monitoring compliance with provisions of the law.

  “The building service employees provide necessary services to hundreds of city subsidized properties and projects throughout the city.  For many of these workers this bill means higher wages that will make a huge difference for their families and help level the playing field between wealthier New Yorkers and those struggling to get into the middle class,” Koppell said.
  The Mayor plans to veto the bill but it appears that the Council has more than enough votes to override the veto.


  Also on Wednesday, March 29, 2012, the Council approved a bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Oliver Koppell, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, requiring that the existing Livery Passenger Bill of Rights, which is posted in every livery vehicle, include the right  that disabled individuals are entitled to price and service levels equivalent to those provided to non-disabled passengers, including being able to request a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
  Presently, the Bill of Rights enumerates twelve rights that a passenger has, including having a courteous driver, clean car and not having to tip for poor service.  However, there is no specification of the service that disabled people are entitled to under rules promulgated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). This bill would require that the currently existing Livery Passenger Bill of Rights be augmented to include a provision notifying disabled passengers of their rights.
  “I am pleased that this bill will enable disabled individual to be aware of their rights and be in a better position to obtain the service to which they are entitled,” Koppell said.


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