New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, proposed a pro-union bill that would boost salaries for thousands of privately hired workers to minimum rates set by the city. That Building Workers Wage Bill was passed by popular vote at Wednesday's council meeting.

The bill will expand the number of building-service workers — including janitors, cleaning crews and security officers — who are paid prevailing wages set by the city comptroller. The rates are often much higher than standard, non-union wages.

According to New York Post reports, this bill will now require private developers to pay prevailing wages for working at projects in which the city provides at least $1 million in subsidies. It also covers workers in city-leased office space in privately owned buildings of at least 10,000 square feet, provided the city occupies at least 80 percent of the space in those buildings.

Under the comptroller's prevailing-wage pay scale, a large office-building handyperson makes $24.77 per hour, and a cleaner, porter, elevator operator or fire-safety director in a smaller office building earns $22.57 per hour.

The real estate community and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have openly opposed the bill, which Bloomberg promises to veto.

Although City Council spokeswoman Zoe Tobin says the measure has enough support to override a veto, Republican lawmakers in the City Council are leery of the measure, which would raise costs for business just as the city is trying to recover from a recession that hit the real estate industry hard.

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