32BJ Targets Assembly on Utility Bill; Upstate Business Upset

Service workers union SEIU 32BJ says it is taking out ads in the Daily News to push a union-friendly bill that passed the State Senate last night, adding pressure on legislation that would extend a prevailing-wage law to public utilities. This would boost pay for service workers (janitors, security guards, dishwashers, etc.) at utilities such as National Grid and Con Ed.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Eric Schneiderman, passed the Senate last night 33-28 (all the Democrats plus Senator Frank Padavan were “ayes”), a considerable victory for 32BJ (and SEIU Local 200 United), since anything remotely controversial is nearly impossible to get through the Senate.

The business world is less than pleased about this, given the added costs it will impose.

As Capitol Confidential noted yesterday, National Grid took out a vitriolic radio ad targeting some upstate Democratic senators (a sample line: “They want to hurt Upstate to benefit one New York City union”), apparently to no avail.

And Unshakle Upstate executive director Brian Sampson devoted a blog post to the bill today, writing this:

“If enacted, the bill will dictate to many companies across NY that they will need to pay prevailing wage to various levels of service workers.  This bill, if signed, would be another hidden tax on Upstate homes and business owners.

Those who took the initiative to oppose this bill will be rewarded with a clearer conscience, while those who were in support will have to suffer consequences for decisions that were made.”

A 32BJ spokeswoman estimated that the bill would apply to 1,100 workers.

Assembly Ad Final

32BJ Targets Assembly on Utility Bill; Upstate Business Upset