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Developer to pay 'living wage' for project near Penn Station

A $2.2 billion, 2.1-million-square-foot tower rising near Penn Station will be the first to fall under a mayoral order setting worker pay at more than 50 percent above the current minimum wage at city-subsidized projects, the de Blasio administration said Friday.

Brookfield Properties' One Manhattan West building and its commercial tenants, which are expected to generate 4,500 construction jobs and more than 6,000 permanent ones, must pay a so-called living wage, now $13.30 an hour for jobs without benefits and $11.90 for those with them.

The wage floors are tied to the consumer price index and could surpass $15 by 2019. New York State's minimum wage now is $8.75.

The vast majority of construction jobs are unionized and already pay well above $13.30, but the order is expected to make a difference for at least several hundred of the jobs, according to the mayor's office.

The city is subsidizing the project with $257 million in tax breaks. It's expected to open by 2020 and be anchored by the giant law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

The wage applies to construction workers erecting the building and tenants who rent space and hire such employees as fast-food workers, janitors and valet parking attendants.

The project, located in the Hudson Yards district, is the first to qualify under an executive order the mayor signed in September that hiked pay for workers in city-subsidized projects and their tenants.

De Blasio's executive order expands New York City's Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, which was passed in 2012 over then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto. Developers had fought the proposal on the grounds that it wasn't feasible to tell tenants how much to pay their workers. Before de Blasio's order, the act covered only city-subsidized developments, but not the tenants.

Over the next five years the order is expected to boost wages of about 18,000 workers, with the lowest going to $27,310 per year from $16,640, the mayor's office has said.

At a meeting of city business leaders this year, de Blasio urged attendees to pay workers at least $13 an hour. He wants the city's minimum wage increased to that, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is cool to the idea.


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