Brooklyn Brewery president says ‘everyone wins’ with a living wage law

Hindy, to Bloomberg's left. (Spencer T Tucker)
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Brooklyn Brewery president Steve Hindy today endorsed the "living wage"  bill, saying that, "workers who benefit from this legislation will put their pay increase right back into the local economy."

"The living wage requirement established by the legislation will apply only to large developers and larger companies at subsidized projects—they are in the best position to meet the requirement," said Hindy, in a statement. "Small businesses with revenues of less than five million dollars, manufacturers, affordable housing providers, and nonprofits are exempted.”

"I urge the New York City Council to pass the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act this month," he continued.

The living wage bill would require some recipients of city development subsidies, and their tenants, to pay workers $10 an hour with health benefits, or $11.50 without.

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The proposal is believed to have the support of a majority of the City Council, but Speaker Christine Quinn, who in recent years has grown closer to both Mayor Bloomberg and the business community, both staunch opponents of the legislation, has declined to bring it up for a vote. The news that Hindy was planning to endorse the living wage proposal was reported this morning by the New York Post.

Hindy is frequently cited by the city's political establishment as an example of a successful local enterpreneur: Last year, Mayor Bloomberg helped inaugurate the brewery's expanded facilities in Willamsburg, Brooklyn. The mayor also wrote the forward to Hindy's book, Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery.

"When large developers and companies benefiting from subsidies boost wages, everyone wins: more working people are self-sufficient, more demand for products and services is generated and consumer spending at businesses of all sizes increases, continued Hindy. "This legislation tells the private sector that government wants to incentivize a higher-wage economy that will enable New York City to maintain its competitive advantage. It’s the right message to send.”

Hindy also said, in the statement, "It is wrong that CEO pay is now 400 times the lowest paid workers. This is bad for business, bad for society and bad for the economy. Trickle-down economics have failed. My reading of history is that the US economy does much better in times when there is not such great disparity between the 99% and the 1%. And workers who benefit from this legislation will put their pay increase right back into the local economy.”

Brooklyn Brewery pays its workers more than the state's $7.25 an hour minimum wage, something Hindy said "helps us attract and keep the best workers, workers who have a stake in the success of the company."