October 14, 2015

Dear Comptroller Stringer,

I am writing to urge you to investigate whether the NYC District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC) misrepresented its membership numbers in an effort to inflate the prevailing wage rates for the various trades performed by its members.

A new report from Politico New York reveals that NYCDCC publicly claims to have 25,000 members. However, NYCDCC’s 2015 LM-2 filing with the U.S. Dept. of Labor reveals that, as of June 30, 2015, the union’s total membership was 18,987. A closer look at previous LM-2 filings shows that the union’s total membership has not been above 25,000 since 2008, and has declined by 25% since that time.

As you know, collective bargaining agreements can be used to determine the prevailing wage rate for a particular trade. The wage rate determined to be prevailing must be based upon 30% or more of the market for that trade. As a result, a union’s membership numbers play a role in determining what the local prevailing wage is for that particular trade. NYCDCC’s misrepresentation may have affected that process for several trades.

At the very least, this pattern of public misrepresentation warrants an inquiry, since construction costs resulting from inflated prevailing wages can lead to an increase of public subsidies —taxpayer dollars — used to fund developments in our city.

I urge you to immediately investigate whether NYCDCC improperly stated its total membership in order to increase the prevailing wage paid to its members. New Yorkers deserve an explanation on an issue that affects the use of public subsidies.

Thank you for your consideration. I trust that you will act swiftly in the best interests of all New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

Brian Sampson
Associated Builders and Contractors Empire Chapter President