In My Opinion: County should reject Project Labor Agreement

By Brian Sampson President, Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors The much-talked about Plattsburgh Airport $40 million construction project will provide hundreds of construction jobs to the region and put Clinton County on the map for growth.  That’s the good news.  The bad news? The project, like the current Norsk plant, is subject to Gov. Cuomo’s habit of picking winners and losers. As he’s done with countless projects across the state, the Governor want a union-favoring Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to be used. If that happens, it will be virtually impossible for most local hardhats to work on the project.   Governor Cuomo earlier this year again pledged his undying support for union labor to build everything union, even when it means back-benching local workers.  He’s already done that here in the region when he forced Norsk to ignore local contractors that built their first facility for union friends that donate to his camp ... Read the rest of entry »

Built by Merit: Profiles of ABC Member Projects

W.M. Schultz Construction is a merit shop contractor based out of Ballston Spa, New York and has been a long time member and supporter of ABC. They perform a variety of heavy civil infrastructure work in the water and wastewater markets, transportation, and industrial markets. They look for complex and demanding work that requires extensive pre-planning and coordination. The bulk of their work is within a three-hour drive of their office which envelopes a significant portion of the Northeast. In fact, you’ve probably seen W.M. Schultz’s green trucks traveling throughout New York State since the company was started by its founder and current president and CEO, Bill Schultz.  Bill had worked for many years learning the benefits and flexibilities that the merit shop philosophy offers from his father. When Bill’s father retired, Bill had the vision of starting his own company. W.M. Schultz Construction was created in 2000 and the comp ... Read the rest of entry »

As construction safety debate heats up, contracting group acknowledges shift away from unions

By Sally Goldenberg  07/05/2017 05:02 AM EDT The city's leading trade organization representing building contractors, historically an ally of construction unions, is increasingly welcoming employers who use nonunion workers as well.  The shift, which the group's president acknowledged in a private speech and interview last week, is taking shape as city officials, organized labor and developers spar over the terms of a bill that would regulate the increasingly dangerous construction industry. A handful of unions, meanwhile, are locked in disputes over collective bargaining agreements that were set to expire last week. Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trade Employers' Association, delivered a candid speech last Wednesday at a dinner hosted by the Construction & Realty Services Group at Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan. He made clear his organization is embracing "open shop" companies whose workers are not required to be in unions and typically charge lower rates. He also vowed to s ... Read the rest of entry »

DOB targets Gilbane after concrete, crowbar falls from Macklowe’s East 59th Street site

Agency is paying close attention to other alleged problem contractors The city is cracking down on Gilbane Residential Construction after a rash of construction mishaps on several of the contractor’s sites. In May, a crowbar fell from the 32nd story of a luxury condo building rising at Macklowe Properties’ 200 East 59th Street, the New York Daily News reported. The tool crashed onto the roof of a taxi driving by and shattered the vehicle’s windshield. An attorney for the driver — who hasn’t worked since — has indicated that he plans to sue. The accident was the third construction-related incident to occur at the site in a two-month span. In another incident in March, three yards of concrete poured down onto vehicles below the building. After the crowbar fell, the Department of Buildings inspected 12 of Gilbane’s 14 sites in the city and found 49 hazardous violations and issued 13 partial or full stop-work orders. Gilbane told the Daily News that it’s w ... Read the rest of entry »

Construction Leaders Take to the Airwaves to Educate Congress on Workforce Issues

by Scott Braddock All last week, members of the Associated Builders and Contractors of America were in Washington to talk with members of Congress and others about the need to invest in a future workforce. As part of their effort, ABC’s national leadership took to the airwaves on WTOP Radio to get into the specifics of sustaining a robust construction industry in an era of emerging technologies. Mike Bellaman, ABC’s president and CEO, told the audience that the group’s 21,000 members “build all of America.” “They build infrastructure, hard – meaning utilities, roads, etc. – as well as social – which means schools, churches and educational institutions,” Bellaman said. “They build office buildings, retail complexes, stadiums – all the special places that we live in, learn, go have fun in, get healed, etc.” “Our members focus heavily on being world class,” Bellaman said of the fierce competition in the marke ... Read the rest of entry »

Renovation of Jewish seminary in Morningside Heights spurs protest over use of non-union labor

By Ginger Adams Otis of the NY Daily News When is it ethical for a Jewish institution to use non-union labor? It’s up for debate. A renovation of the storied Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan has sparked a heated Rabbinical discourse among students, faculty and alums — all using the Talmud as their guide. The catalyst was JTS’s decision to make Gilbane Building Co. its general contractor for the massive project in Morningside Heights.   Formerly an all-union shop, Gilbane now uses an “open-shop” model — meaning any company can bid on the parts of the renovation project up for grabs. That set off a predictably angry response from various unions hoping to scoop up the Gilbane contracts — and also an impassioned reaction from JTS students and grads, who question the ethics of the decision. “The whole issue of the rights of workers within the Jewish tradition goes to the time of the Talmud. The Conservative movement, which the JTS is a ... Read the rest of entry »

Mayor and building trades near deal on safety reforms amid increase in construction accidents

By Sally Goldenberg  06/05/2017 05:13 AM EDT Mayor Bill de Blasio and construction union leaders, who have recently begun patching up their contentious relationship, are nearing a deal to dramatically increase worker training requirements in response to a recent uptick in injuries and deaths, according to multiple sources briefed on the potential agreement. The proposal calls for all workers to be trained between 54 and 71 hours, with an extra 30-hour requirement for supervisors, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO. Certain workers would have to undergo even more "task specific training" totaling up to 242 hours, the three-page document shows. The city's buildings department and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration would enforce most of the regulations. Certain jobs would need training far in excess of current rules. Those working in "confined spaces" would be subject to between two and 16 hours of training — there is no current federal hourly requirement, according ... Read the rest of entry »

ABC Comments on Burdensome EPA Regulations

On May 15, ABC submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on costly and burdensome EPA regulations and policies.  In the comment letter, ABC expressed concern that major federal projects have been unnecessarily delayed or abandoned, resulting in jobs being deferred or never created because of a dysfunctional permitting system. ABC supports a streamlined process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner, which would help foster job creation and economic growth.  Further, ABC discussed the 2015 final rule on Definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Under the Clean Water Act Final Rule, which radically changed the level of authority the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have over water and land uses across the country. ABC has been a vocal opponent of the WOTUS rule, which has led to uncertainty among ABC members and the construction industry at large. On Feb. 28, Preside ... Read the rest of entry »

Nonunion group calls on state to investigate why Verrazano Bridge worker wasn’t wearing a safety harness

A nonunion construction group is calling on the state to investigate why a worker who fell from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge earlier this week wasn’t in a safety harness. The Associated Builders Contractors sent a letter to the state’s Department of Transportation urging the agency to investigate why the worker wasn’t “tied off” when he fell on Monday. The worker plunged 25 feet from the upper level of the bridge onto electrical conduits and fractured both of his legs, according to city fire officials. The electrical wiring stopped him from plunging to the road below. The letter emphasizes that the worker’s employer, Tutor Perini, is working on the project through a union-only project labor agreement. “Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, and we must insist that all workers, contractors and owners are held to the same high standards of ensuring everyone that everyone goes home safely after a day of work,” ABC President Brian Sampson stat ... Read the rest of entry »

Bipartisan, ABC-supported Career and Technical Education Bill Introduced in Congress

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, was introduced in the Committee on Education and the Workforce by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) on May 4. The ABC-supported legislation would provide more access to valuable career and technical education (CTE) programs and ensure these programs are aligned with in-demand jobs, including construction.  ABC sent a letter to Reps. Thompson and Krishnamoorthi thanking them for introducing the bill, writing “it is essential that our nation improves access to high-quality CTE programs and that these programs are focused on high-demand industries like construction, are connected to local employers and deliver nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials.” ABC praised the legislation, which will “take vital steps toward opening up opportunities for students and giving them a competitive advantage in finding fulfilling and high paying careers in the construction ... Read the rest of entry »

Recent Posts

 Tanner Schmidt  Wednesday, March 28, 2018  3

This winter, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers went without heat or hot water at one point or another during the frigid winter months in NYCHA properties...

Cuomo and his Surrogates are Pressuring Local Manufacturer to Build with Discriminatory PLA
 Tanner Schmidt  Sunday, March 11, 2018  3

Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Empire State Chapter President Brian Sampson blasted Governor Cuomo appointee Howard Zemsky and his team at Empire...

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Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State is the voice of the merit shop in the New York construction industry.  We believe the merit shop movement is a movement for the betterment of the individual... the construction industry... and the nation.. 
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