Prevailing Wage

Reforms are needed for New York state's methodologies used to determine and establish prevailing wage rates on public works projects


ABC has long called for reforms to New York state's methodologies used to determine and establish prevailing wage rates on public works projects.  A study released by Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) revealed the state's methods for establishing prevailing wage rates are costing New York taxpayers millions of dollars a year. This study is the first hard look at the methodology used to set prevailing wage rates and it revealed that our government's methods are broken.

Background   CURE's study exposed New York State's flawed system of using collective bargaining agreements to establish wage rates is likely invalid given NYS law requires the agreements to cover 30% of a local workforce and union membership is presently lower than that. Unions now represent only 24% of the state's construction workforce, yet New York State still utilizes union collective bargaining agreements. 

New Yorkers want their government to jumpstart the economy, fix crumbling infrastructure and do a better job of spending their tax dollars at the same time.  As a supporter of the study, ABC has called on state leaders to review and consider its recommendations to reduce the costs imposed by prevailing wage.   According to the study, prevailing wage rates in the state are up to twice the market wage.  The study recommended many reforms, such as indexing prevailing wage with the use of US Bureau of Labor Statistics mean wages with conventional benefit rate of 25-40%, not the current 70% prevailing wage fringe pack.



  • (A3328) Would mandate prevailing wage.
  • (A3328) Would mandate prevailing wage on private utility work for when a street opening permit is required.
  • (S1272) Broadens scope of prevailing wage requirements for service employees

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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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