New York City’s mayoral race is just around the corner and few prominent adversaries have stepped up to the plate to challenge Bill De Blasio in a democratic primary. Even in the absence of a potential rival, De Blasio faces many obstacles on his way to re-election. His approval ratings are below 50%, in spite of his political maneuvering to increase them via his public denouncement of president Trump, who is very unpopular among New Yorkers in particular. There is also a federal investigation into his fund raising activities, which could lead to an indictment against him and his aides before the coming election. Homelessness has also been on the rise during his tenure.
Last Monday the Mayor delivered his State of the City address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The De Blasio administration has had its share of successes. The proportion of Black and Hispanic high school students taking the SAT has risen in recent years, suggesting higher enrollment rates for minorities looking to go to college. The city has allocated $1.3 billion to the repair of Housing Authority roofs. It has also illegalized the hidden charges in utility bills, saving New Yorkers 7%, as the Mayor noted in his speech.
If reelected, the Mayor has promised to devote himself to the construction of a new center for fashion businesses, expanding the cities garment manufacturing district in Sunset Park. The city has already announced the expenditure of $90 million in order to build a new building at the Fashion institute of Technology.
The Times reports that the fashion industry employs 180,000 people in NYC. De Blasio hopes that his initiatives in Sunset Park will add another 1,500 jobs to that figure. Globalization has driven the garment and manufacturing overseas, but De Blasio’s plan will focus on offering job training and assistance to domestic workers. According to the U.S. Census, the amount of garment and textile workers is at an all-time low and is estimated at 17,000 employees. To place that figure into proper perspective, 17 years ago, that figure was close to 60,000.
De Blasio also emphasized job creation and improvements in the base line wage for New Yorkers during his speech. Notably, the Mayor emphasized the “a good job to me has to pay at least $50,000 a year.”
The Federal estimates for wages for apparel and textile workers range between $33,000 and $48,000. The city estimates that wages for garment workers run to a mere $16,710.The Mayor has his work cut out for him should he be reelected.
By: Kristina Stukalenko