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80% of New York Construction Workers Do Not Belong to a Union

According to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of 2023 state union membership data published recently by, 80% of New York’s construction workers in private industry do not belong to a union. Nationwide, a record 89.3% of construction workers do not belong to a union, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 88.3% in 2022.


“Approximately 80 percent of the private construction industry professionals living in New York did not belong to a union in 2023, and the number of merit shop construction professionals continues to grow year after year,” said ABC Empire State Chapter President Brian Sampson. “Elected leaders’ exclusionary policies may secure them endorsements from special interest donors and organized labor, but the overwhelming majority of New York’s construction industry is operating in a nonunion environment. It’s long past time that Albany accepts this reality. New York State policies threaten to inflate construction costs, steer public works contracts to donors with little competition, and exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage. All of this undermines taxpayer investments in our infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing projects. All qualified contractors and their employees should be allowed to bid on and build taxpayer-funded construction projects that are awarded based on cost, quality and safety, not union affiliation.”

“Leaders in Albany continue to push unproductive, expensive and anti-competitive regulations, like government-mandated project labor agreements on state construction projects, sweeping expansion of prevailing wage to private work and refusing to reform outdated laws such as Labor Law 240 commonly known as the Scaffold Law,” said ABC Empire State Public Affairs Manager Tanner Schmidt. “Construction industry freedom and choice to affiliate with unions independent of government interference creates immense value for taxpayers and the construction industry, which is why ABC will continue to challenge exclusionary policies and advocate for all construction workers to be welcome to build taxpayer-funded construction projects.”

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