Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live On WNYC

December 7, 2016

Brian Lehrer: It’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning everyone. New York and the Republican Congress seem to have an official fight on their hands over the protection of Donald Trump. A bill unveiled yesterday in Washington would provide just $7 million to help pay for protecting Trump between Election Day and Inauguration Day. The City and State had asked for $35 million and the money can only go towards overtime pay for state and local enforcement personnel assigned to Trump security. We will start there for this week’s Ask The Mayor segment with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, Brian.

Lehrer: And listeners, our Ask The Mayor call-in theme for today is: How the City is Preparing to Deal with the Realities of the Trump Administration – Risks or Opportunities. Any questions for Mayor de Blasio about the City’s strategic planning for the impact of Donald Trump in the five boroughs, you can call and ask 2-1-2 4-3-3-W-N-Y-C (4-3-3-9-6-9-2).

Mr. Mayor, maybe the $7 million is a negotiating figure. You tell me. But, if it sticks, what would it cost New York City taxpayers to protect the president-elect between now and the inauguration?

Mayor: Alright, let me break out a few things here Brian. First of all, I am very disappointed by the action of the Congress. We have an unprecedented situation here in New York City. A president-elect living and working in the same location, which is unusual to begin with, in the middle of Midtown Manhattan – one of the busiest intersections in America. So it seems to me, we have such an exceptional situation here that the Congress should have stepped up and acknowledged it from the beginning. But that being said this is a point in time there’s a lot more to play out here. And, there will be another bite at the apple a few months down the line. We fully intend to keep working to get reimbursed and we have been well reimbursed in some previous situations – for example, during the visit of His Holiness last year – Pope Francis. So – not happy with round one, but it’s only round one. This ain’t over yet.

Lehrer: Well, one of the subsequent rounds will be beyond the inauguration. I’ve read a million dollars a day to protect Melania and Barron Trump, who will keep living here, not in the White House, until the end of the school year. Is that an accurate number? A million dollars a day – who pays for that?

Mayor: I think it’s premature to say that. We put forward a figure for the period from the November 8th election to January 20th. That was approximately $35 million. Remember Brian, that time frame – the discussion of that has not ended. This action reimburses us 20 percent of our cost but, there is no reason that we can’t go and revisit that at the next opportunity with Congress at which point the president-elect will be president. And I do believe he understands personally and his team understands the challenges being presented to the NYPD here. And they obviously understand the NYPD’s work very, very well. I don’t think the president-elect and his team want to burden the NYPD. I think there is a good chance at the next go round that we will do much better. But nothing stops the Congress from reaching back and covering this time frame. Remember in the case of many other exceptional expenses, when there are emergencies – sometimes it takes months, sometimes it takes years for a locality to be reimbursed. We are not giving up until we get the reimbursement we deserve.

Lehrer: You mentioned Pope Francis’ visit. Did the federal government pick up the tab for that in a different way?

Mayor: Very substantially and it’s an example of where we saw great support from the federal government and that’s why I think there is plenty of precedent to work from here to begin with but the other thing is, this is unprecedented as a specific circumstance. And I believe the more we get into a conversation with the leaders of the Congress, especially again, with President Trump in office, it will change the discussion. So to your other question, what is it going to cost going forward? That has not been determined. We are still in strategic discussions with the Secret Service and the NYPD to determine what post January 20 looks like. Obviously, the Trump family is going to make a lot of decisions that will affect the situation as well. So I don’t think it’s right yet to speculate on that dollar figure. I think, again, I’m disappointed. I think they should have done better by New York City but, this ain’t over. There is plenty of time for us to recoup the money we deserve.

Lehrer: You mentioned that Donald Trump gets what the NYPD does and of course he is a New Yorker. Do you think he will come out on the side of the City of this issue? Because, he hasn’t said either way right?        

Mayor: Yes, I do. Personally I do. I think I have established I have many, many differences with Donald Trump. But, on this matter I believe he does love New York City. I believe he has tremendous respect for the NYPD. He sees everyday as a team, the extraordinary extent we are going to, to protect him, his family, his team and the building. Obviously the building is in a very sensitive location at this point. We have to protect it on a variety of levels. He has eyes to see, so again I am hopeful as he starts working with the congressional leadership that, that will helps us to get done what we need to get done. Look, in the meantime, we will provide the security but, I will not stop fighting until we get the reimbursement we deserve. And I remain optimistic that we will get it ultimately.

Lehrer: On another issue, maybe you should ask for extra federal protection for Muslims in the Trump transition and particularly Muslim women. We’ve now had a City cop who appeared to be Muslim accosted and told to go back to her country by a man who also shoved her teenage son, according to the NYPD, and an MTA worker who appeared to be Muslim pushed down a flight of stairs in Grand Central, as you know. This is getting serious, even here in relatively tolerant New York. Are you appealing to the Trump people to respond to these incidents in any particular way?

Mayor: Well, I’ve appealed previously for a different tone. And I’ve seen moments of that different tone but not enough. We, I want to be very clear though, because again, one of my central themes as we go through this very challenging time – I am saying to all of my fellow New Yorkers: New York City, we’re going to take care of our own. We are going to protect people, we are not going to allow bias and hate crimes. Anyone who commits such a crime will be arrested, will be prosecuted, will face very serious consequences. And the individual who threatened Officer Aml Elsokary and her son who said go back to your country – this is what disgusts me the most Brian – he said go back to your country. Officer Elsokary was born in New York City, bred in New York City, has served in the NYPD for 11 years. She was off-duty at the time, so this biased person sees a woman in a hijab and said such a disgusting thing to her, not knowing, in fact, she is a member of our NYPD, that is so respected all around this country, all around this world. It puts a perfect point on how wrongheaded and unacceptable these acts of bias are. We are going to show through action that they will not be tolerated here in New York City.

Lehrer: Did you hear Senator Gillibrand’s call for citizens of good will to intervene if they see bigoted harassment and progress?

Mayor: I didn’t hear her call but I commend her and one of the things we are saying – we’re taking the if you see something, say something concept and extending it here too. Any act of bias, any threat, any violence, any hate speech – we want people to report it immediately to 3-1-1. Obviously, anything that’s an immediate physical threat, we want reported to 9-1-1. We need these reports to come in. One of the things New Yorkers can do is not only speak up if they see hate speech, it’s the perfect opportunity to speak up and defend the person who is being attacked. But, if they see anything that might rise to a threat or violence, report it immediately so we can get the individuals involved.

Lehrer: Let’s take a call. Dinah at Columbus Circle, you are on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hello Dinah.

Question: Good Morning Mr. Mayor. I just have to tell you that you’re the only Mayor that I really feel happy about and I think you’re doing such a great job.

Lehrer: We only have one mayor, Dinah.

Question: I’ll get to my question.

Lehrer: I’m just kidding.

Question: I just want to say thank you so much for trying to work for housing for everyone, which really means a lot to me. And will you be able to continue this great campaign to provide housing for all New Yorkers with Donald Trump thinking that he does high end, luxury real estate and that he’s in bed with all these big landlords and all that. Will you still be able to fight for the people?

Mayor: You know I appreciate the question. I appreciate your kind comments as well. It is a great question for a couple of reasons. One – yes, New York City controls our own ability to crack down on bad landlords, on developers who try and cheat the City. We control that. Donald Trump and the federal government can’t stop us from doing that so we have gone after bad landlords very, very aggressively. We just in fact also announced the fact that for a variety of landlords who get tax credits – is the 421-a program. And have not proven to us that they’re providing the affordable housing, they’re supposed to be in their buildings. We are going to, if we have to sue them to get back that tax credit money and return it to the people if these landlords don’t do what they’re supposed to do. We can keep doing that. We can keep doing things like setting the rent level for the two million New Yorkers in rent-stabilized housing at a fair level. That has led to a rent freeze the last two years. Donald Trump can’t stop us from doing that.

What I am concerned about, Dinah, is federal aid for affordable housing. For example, the Section 8 program that so many New Yorkers depend on, obviously the resources for public housing that houses over 400,000 New Yorkers. Those areas are really in doubt at this moment especially with a Republican Congress that’s been very negative toward a lot of cities. So Dinah, we will continue to be tough. We’ll continue to require affordable housing to be built in major development when we do a rezoning. That’s all within our power. What I am concerned about is will the federal support we’ve had in the past still be there?

Lehrer: And with Ben Carson as the nominee for Housing and Urban Development Secretary, people may not realize that you were the regional director of HUD for our area in the Clinton administration. What’s at stake for the City that Ben Carson’s politics might affect, even without Congress doing anything?   

Mayor: It’s an excellent question Brian and I have to be honest with you, I don’t have a clear take on Dr. Carson’s views on a lot of these policy areas and these funding streams that we rely on. That’s going to be a big X- factor. I’m going to approach him with an open hand. I look forward to talking to him hopefully this week – congratulating him, inviting him to New York. I want to show him our public housing. I want to show him how much affordable housing programs are necessary in one of the most expensive cities in the country. But also, let’s face it – we in this city contribute intensely to the American economy. We’re one of the centers of the American economy. It is in everyone’s interest for New York City to work well. And I hope to help him to see how much HUD is a crucial piece of that. I don’t know what he intends to do. But what I will tell you is – I at least believe he has some perspective from his own life on life in our cities. I want to believe he is going to come into this open-minded. And I’ll do everything I can to show him our – the reality – the reality of our people.

Lehrer: Locally on this issue – our reporter Mirela Iverac interviewed your former Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, who said your homelessness strategy won’t reduce the shelter population because the subsidies you’ve introduced aren’t working as well as expected. And she called for bolder solutions – as she saw them – namely a City-funded Section 8 voucher program that landlords would have confidence in the permanence of. What’s your reaction to any of that?

Mayor: Well, I think a couple of different things. I believe what we started during the Deputy Mayor’s time and we’ve continued has been very effective. We have almost 50,000 people who either were in shelter and now have gotten out and have rental assistance, or we kept out of shelter to begin with because we have a rental assistance program that’s working. That was not existent when we came into office, so we had to create a new approach. You know, once upon a time Brian, there was a thing called the Advantage program that worked pretty well. That was taken away in 2011 by the Governor and then-Mayor.

We created a whole new approach starting during Deputy Mayor Barrios-Paoli’s time. It has worked on many levels. What we’re doing – I think it’s a fair point that landlords need to see it can work for them. We spend a lot of time and energy working with good landlords who want to be a part of this initiative – showing them it can work and showing them we’re committed to it for the long term. And I’m going to make very clear – I’ve met with landlords who want to participate to tell them personally that this is going to be something that continues as a very important initiative so long as I am Mayor. So I think we are getting a lot done that way.

I think the big issue about starting new City-funded programs – it gets back to right, what we were talking about a moment ago – we don’t know what our federal support is going to be forward. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the current federally-funded Section 8 program. We may be having to make up for a lot of ground in some very troubling ways. Until that shapes up, I think we need to keep doing what we’re doing and continuing to keep people out of shelters with rental subsidies. We’re also – as you saw, I think – doing a new subsidy program to get people to go back to their families or to go to family members who can take them in, especially for the holidays, but beyond. It is much more humane for a New Yorker to end up with a family member. And we will provide a subsidy to help make that happen – obviously much better for a family, much better for children – than being in shelter – and much better for the taxpayer. We spend almost $40,000 a year for a family to be in shelter. We’d like to take a chunk of that money, give it to another one of their family members to bring them into their own home or apartment. And it’s a much more conducive setting, particularly for children. I think that’s going to get a lot of pick-up.

Lehrer: Those sound like good programs. But when you first came into office, you talked here about how the rising homelessness population could pretty much be hung on past City policies and State policies. Now, you’re going into your fourth year. You’ve got to own the fact that we have a still rising and now record shelter and other homeless population – right?

Mayor: Yeah – Brian, I’d say a couple things. Look, I own it, but I also want to note some important facts. We had almost a year-long period where we were able to stabilize the shelter population. It grew again, but we are arresting that growth and starting to turn it. And I think we’ll be able to show some real progress soon on turning it. Then we have to turn it even more for the long-term. The bottom line is – one, this city never recovered from the cancellation of the Advantage program in 2011. When you look at the numbers, it’s astounding. There was about 35 – 36,000 people in shelter at the time Advantage was cancelled – April 2011. By the time I took office, there were 50,000 people in shelter. That was the moment where we really lost momentum. When I came in, we started all of these initiatives to get people out of shelter, to get them into homes, to stop them from going into shelter – anti-eviction legal services, subsidies to keep families together, and keep them in shelter. These pieces are working. We predicted if we hadn’t done these – our shelter population would be almost 10,000 people more right now. So, Brian, I have to own everything – the things that worked, the things that didn’t. We’re going to come up with a much more comprehensive vision on homelessness in the coming month. But I can tell you that a lot of these initiatives are taking hold, and I believe we will turn that number.

Lehrer: Mayor de Blasio with us for our weekly Ask the Mayor segment here on WNYC. And Ray in the Bronx is with us too. Ray, you’re on the air. Hi.

Question: Good morning. I know it’s been a part of Paul Ryan’s agenda to repeal Davis-Bacon, and I know Donald Trump has had a lot of problems with the union building trades – not the City workers, but the building trades. If they do, somehow, figure out a way to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act – Mr. Mayor, are you going to support the union building trades?

Mayor: Absolutely. Look – Davis-Bacon has been a crucial protection for working people. I’m worried about that. I’m worried about everything around the labor relations that the federal government has regulated for decades going back to the New Deal. I think there’s going to be an assault on working people in this new administration and new Congress. By the way, when that happens, and I can almost guarantee it will happen, I think a lot of people – including people who voted for Donald Trump – are going to be very upset and feel very much let down.

Lehrer: What is Davis-Bacon essentially provide?

Mayor: My colleague can tell you. But my shorthand was – a series of protections for people to make sure – for workers – to make sure they get fair pay and to create consistency and legal backing for that.

Lehrer: Ray, you want to say what you’re concerned about with respect to Davis-Bacon?

Question: Yeah, well it will do away with our ability to negotiate our wages and stick together as a union. That’s one of my concerns. Also, it’s a lot of the – private sector has had a lot of injuries and accidents. I just – I just hope that we can keep working together because it’s a lot safer and a lot better. And I know that Trump has had a lot of problems with the unions in Atlantic City, and I just want the Mayor’s support.

Mayor: Yeah, no – there’s no question. We in New York City will support labor. We will support fair wages. We will fight to regulate businesses to make sure they provide fair wages, especially those that we have anything to do with at the City government, in terms of contracting, etcetera. We in the city, and I think at the State level as well – we’re going to have to fight. If they try and take away labor protections federally, we are going to have make sure our own are strong or even stronger. But I believe fundamentally in labor movement – every element of the labor movement. This is the way forward. And as bad as this moment may feel, the future still belongs to making sure we restore the middle class, for getting more people into unionized labor. So we – even if we’ve got to be one of the places that fights to maintain that tradition of organized labor against a bad national current, we will do it. And this town is a labor town, it’s a union town, it’s not changing.

Lehrer: Annette in Laurelton – you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, Annette.

Question: Hi, how are you?

Lehrer: Good, thank you.

Question: Good morning, Mayor de Blasio.

Mayor: Good morning.

Question: I think the issue of mental illness is a national issue. And I think that the federal government can play a bigger role, as well as State and local. This issue is constantly not being addressed. Now even at Creedmoor – Creedmoor is an outpatient – and they serve a population of you know – would you call people who are without housing. Now, right on the grounds of Creedmoor, they have buildings right there – they are boarded up. Those buildings could be used for housing for the mentally ill. Plus, they are selling off a lot of land that’s owned by the State and building houses and schools around the area, which I think should be used for the mentally ill. As a person who has someone in the family who suffers from that, I think this is a front – this is an issue that we must deal with – with compassion. And we must be able to solve it.

Lehrer: And we know – 

Mayor: So, I’m asking you to include that as you speak to whoever is going to be in charge of the issue concerning health.

Lehrer: Annette, thank you very much. And I know this is obviously a central issue for both you and your wife, who is leading a mental health taskforce in the city. But is there a federal role in this too?

Mayor: Absolutely, Brian. And thank you, Annette, very much for the question. So a couple of key points. Creedmoor is – I agree with you – there’s a lot of land and buildings. And we would love to work with the State to get them turned them into housing for people who need it and support for folks with mental illness. It would be a great location for a lot of supportive housing. The City has committed to 15,000 apartments. We will fund 15,000 apartments for folks who have mental health challenges and other challenges who need supportive housing. We are hoping the State will step up. They made a broad commitment. But Creedmoor is the kind of place where the State, working with us, could get a lot done and we could give a lot more people support. So, I hope they do that.

On the federal front, there has been real progress in the Congress, just even in the last days. My wife, Chirlane, has been working on this and talking to folks in Washington. There actually has been something of a bipartisan consensus toward greater support for mental health initiatives at the local level.

And finally, you know, Chirlane’s initiative, which is called Thrive NYC, is really starting to take off. And one of the newest elements – I want all New Yorkers to know this – is NYC Well. It’s a really straightforward concept. It’s a number you could call – 1-8-8-8-N-Y-C-Well; W-E-L-L – and you can call if you have a challenge you want to talk to someone about or you could call on behalf of a loved one or friend. Trained counselors will help you get the mental health services you need. They’ll not only tell you about it, they’ll help connect you to the appointment. They’ll follow up to make sure it’s working with you – whatever that kind of service is. We’ve never had that before and this is something Chirlane really believed that we needed – an easy access point for mental health services and substance misuse services. This is, I think, going to revolutionize our ability to reach people in need.

Lehrer: Manuel in Rockland. You’re on WNYC. Hi, Manuel.

Question: Good morning, Brian. Good morning, Mayor. I have a question. Why is the Mayor so negative about Trump. Let’s be clear – I’m Hispanic and I’m not in [inaudible] Donald Trump [inaudible] Hillary Clinton but I would think he [inaudible] negative.

Mayor: Manuel, I would not say that. I believe that I have been fair. I, obviously, profoundly disagree with Donald Trump. Some of the things he has said, particularly in the campaign, were divisive and I think unacceptable. Some of the policies he has proposed I think are going to hurt working people. Obviously, something like a Muslin ban or mass deportation will create huge division in the country. But that being said, I went and met with him. I spent an hour talking to him. I thought it was a respectful, substantive meeting. I have said there are areas that he has talked about including infrastructure, trade, tax reform in terms of making sure hedge fund managers pay their fair share of taxes – those are areas that I could work with him on for sure. And I praised him for putting forward some of those initiatives.

I want to keep an open mind but I think it would be irresponsible for me not to stand up for my city that, right now, would really suffer if the proposals he made in his campaign were followed through on literally. If he’s literally going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that would have a huge negative effect on millions of my constituents. It’s my job to stand up for them.

Lehrer: Manuel, thank you for your call. You know one of the side effects of Trump’s election is that I have other items of City business I wanted to ask you about this week –

[Laughter]

From water rates – we did get into homelessness a little bit – to criminal justice and other things. But all the Trump related stuff has such fierce urgency. But let me ask you about a few other things in the news and we’ll go down the list in short form, if we can. Okay?

Mayor: And I will take that. But just one moment in the water rates because this is going to come to [inaudible], Brian. We are trying to get 600,000 homeowners a $183 credit on their water bills. We want to put $183 in the pockets of 600,000 homeowners in this city because we’re no longer going to charge them for things other than water in their water bill which was a hidden tax in the past.

Who is standing in the way of that? The landlord lobby, the Rent-Stabilization Association. The big landlords are trying to stop homeowners from getting money back on their water bill. We’re fighting them in court. We’re fighting the big landlords. I hope all homeowners understand that they deserve fairness and these big landlords are standing in the way.

Lehrer: The landlords of rent-stabilized apartments actually sued the City over this, right?

Mayor:  They sued us. We were about to give – in the summer – $183 credit for all homeowners, 600,000 homeowners in their water bill. That would have been money in their pocket. And then we said from that point on we were never going to charge for anything other than water in the water bill. This is an issue I fought on going back to when I was Public Advocate. No homeowner – I’m a homeowner in Brooklyn. We never should have had to pay for anything other than water in our water bill but it went on for years and years. We finally fixed it with great support from the City Council. And who stands in the way? Wealthy landlords through their landlord lobby, take us to court. I’d sure like all 600,000 homeowners to know that these big landlords are keeping them from getting money they deserve back.

Lehrer: There are a lot of little landlords of rent-stabilized apartments who would probably love to call up right now and say, what about us little landlords of rent-stabilized apartments who are getting by?

Mayor: Look, here’s my bottom line on this, Brian. We, when we decided to give this money back to taxpayers, give this money back to homeowners – because they really shouldn’t be charged for anything other than water. And the clearest most accurate way to do that was to give it to homeowners. We weren’t going to put it in the pockets of landlords who would not then pass it on to the people who deserved it. We wanted to give it directly to those who had clearly and directly paid. Now, when you think about that, that is an act of fairness and that’s an act of reform. It’s something people have been clamoring for, for decades – to stop paying for something other than water in their water bill. We finally did it. I think it’s unconscionable of the landlord lobby to harm the homeowners in this way.

On the larger issue, I’ve said all along, we want to work with the smaller landlords. We want to make sure they’re being treated fairly. A lot of them have asked for assistance from the City government. We try in every way we can to do that. But the bottom line, here, is this about the bigger landlords who are part of the Rent-Stabilization Association and were cynically trying to keep homeowners from getting that credit they deserve.

Lehrer: Another issue – Politico New York is drawing attention, today, to a fundraising letter you sent out taking credit for reducing stop-and-frisk 97 percent. But they point out that most of the reduction was already put in place by the Bloomberg administration in its final year, and that you have other pushback happening on criminal justice now. You’re resisting a bill to ban police chokeholds. Eric Garner’s mother says she opposes your re-election, and you’re being sued by the Legal Aid Society for withholding police disciplinary records. So, this area isn’t a political slam-dunk for you anymore, is it?

Mayor: I – look, Brian, you’re throwing a lot of pieces together. I would frame it differently. I came into office, said that we would fix the broken policy of stop-and-frisk. In 2011 – 700,000 stops. I will get you the figures for 2012 and 2013 when Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly were still in office. I don’t think the facts in Politico are accurate. I will get you that breakout.

We changed it intensely. When Commissioner Bratton and I came in, we drove down the unconstitutional use of stop-and-frisk deeply. It’s going to be approximately 20,000 stops or fewer this year at the same time crime is going down more and gun seizures are going up, and we’re using neighborhood policing to actually create a partnership and a bond with communities.

So, I think that Politico article is really off base. In terms of the other reforms. What did I say we were going to do? We were going to greatly decrease the use of stop-and-frisk. We did that. We were going to institute neighborhood policing. We’re doing that. We were going to stop the things that were causing a rift between police and community. For example, we stopped the arrest for low-level marijuana possession. You know, we are now doing an entirely different training regimen for our cops including de-escalation when there are encounters with civilians. We’re starting implicit bias training at the NYPD – a huge step forward for the largest police department in the country.

I think folks who want reform should look at all that – all the thing that they had said they wanted are actually happening. In terms of the disciplinary cases – each and every one of those is going to be seen through. As you know, the Garner case, right now, is in the hands of the US Justice Department. When they finish their process, if they do not bring charges, there will be disciplinary action determined through the NYPD’s due process.

So, I don’t put those pieces together the same way that some critics do. I think we have made steady progress on police reform. We’ve reinvigorated the CCRB which was moribund for most of a quarter-century. We have seen, at the same time, complaints against police go down. That’s great combination of a stronger CCRB and reduced complaints about our police. We have now a Police Inspector General. We have so many elements of reform that some of these same advocates said, for years, would change everything. We’re doing it. And body cameras – in the course of this year, you’re going to see body cameras starting to be introduced on a large level in New York City. They will be expanded greatly from there.

Lehrer: You mentioned the federal review of the Garner case. Do you have reason to believe that that will be completed before the potential confirmation of Jefferson Sessions as Attorney General?

Mayor: There’s no way to know. We, obviously, respect the choice of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She has not indicated a timeline or what her decision will be. If the Justice Department brings charges, that will obviously lead to a longer playout. If they don’t bring charges, we, then, will proceed with the NYPD disciplinary process which, again, is a trial. It’s a public process. But I don’t know which way they’re going and, obviously, there’s only a few weeks left for her to make that decision.

Lehrer: Last thing – we had that caller [inaudible] in the Bronx on labor issues. And I see that you’re happy about a City Council bill known as Fair Workweek. You want to talk about that?

Mayor: Absolutely. Fair Workweek is really crucial because there are tens of thousands of workers in this city who get almost no notice about their work week, especially folks in the fast food industry. They are put in a situation. They’re trying to live their lives. They have families. They’re trying to balance, in some cases, multiple jobs just to get by. And they don’t get notified until very late of what their schedule is, and then if they can’t make that schedule because they have to take a kid to the hospital or because they have another obligation to a second job – of course, then they’re penalized. This is ridiculous. This is the kind of situation that workers should not be put through. If we’re going to fight for a fairer society, people need to know what their work schedule will be. This bill, which is in the City Council – the City Council’s been wonderful on this issue – says you have to give a couple weeks’ notice of what your shifts are going to be so people can plan their lives. And if things come up at the last minute – okay. You can say to a worker, hey, we need you at the last minute, but then they have to be duly compensated with some extra pay for the dislocation that that causes. It’s just a matter of basic fairness.

Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thanks a lot – talk to you next week.

Mayor: Thank you, Brian.

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