Crain’s New York: Making Construction Safer In The City Requires Investment, Not Organized Labor

From Crain’s New York:

To the Editor:

A May 15 letter from a union leader misrepresented the construction industry’s opposition to a proposed apprenticeship mandate in New York City by spouting union platitudes.

In “Apprenticeships Ensure Safety For Construction Workers,” Eric Dean pretended that the construction industry is striving to avoid paying for safety training.

That’s nonsense.

Last year alone, contractors belonging to Associated Builders & Contractors spent over $1.1 billion to develop talent and ensure workers are safe with proper training. Much of that training involved task-specific safety classes, skills development and other instruction geared toward empowering workers to become leaders that promote a culture of safety on the job site. A ground-up safety program is necessary and that’s what we’ve proposed to the City Council.

Incidentally, we believe that New York City construction needs more training that is data-driven to address the underlying problems.

A deeper analysis of the city’s construction-worker deaths revealed that over 75% of the incidents were on projects below 10 stories. Arguably that’s where the most attention needs to be. But Mr. Dean neglected to disclose that his apprenticeship plan would only apply to projects 10 stories and higher. This would have done nothing to protect a majority of the lives lost.

The proposed mandate is a badly disguised market-grab effort by unions to steer business their way. It would cost thousands of New Yorkers their jobs—while doing nothing for safety.

New York and its hardworking tradespeople deserve better.

Brian Sampson


Associated Builders & Contractors, Empire State Chapter

As a full-service trade association, ABC offers a variety of information, tools and services to its members.


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As a full-service trade [...]

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A lack of public hearings on the issue and the rush to get the bill passed by the end of session also means that final details of the bill will be determined behind closed doors, according to Brian Sampson, president of Empire Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. “The potential impact of this bill, as drafted, could stop economic development in parts of this state for a long time,” he said. “Why aren't we talking about this bill more openly, and having more discussions and dialogue about it, instead of wrapping it up with a pretty little bow in the ‘Big Ugly?’”

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