Final New York State Budget Statement
Albany Chooses Special Interest Groups Over Majority of NY Construction Workers
A Statement from ABC Empire State Chapter
President, Brian Sampson
“The ABC Empire State Chapter has been advocating for open shop construction companies and their workers for over 50 years and this is the most challenging state budget we’ve seen to date. The final budget is a gut punch to the 70 percent of New York State’s construction workforce who choose not to be in a union. The same hardworking taxpayers that, during a global pandemic, never wavered on their commitment to continue to improve and strengthen our communities are now getting screwed.
The legislature and the Governor have approved billions of dollars of giveaways to special interest construction groups, their donors, by mandating the use of a discriminatory tool known as Project Labor Agreements (PLA). It’s been proven over the years that PLAs exclude most workers, and many MWBE firms, by requiring that contractors hire workers from local union halls to staff projects.
In 2016, New York’s last Disparity Study outlined the issue very clearly. It identified that, “The use of project labor agreements on State projects is more of an exclusionary practice. The agreements prevent MWBEs from participating on the job. Many MWBEs are non-union shops.”
PLAs deny most construction workers and their families the ability to benefit from projects in their own backyard where their tax dollars cover the cost. This bill gifts an incredible amount of money towards projects that can only be worked on by union labor. How can Governor Hochul and the legislative leaders expect important projects to get done on time when only 30% of the workforce can help? New Yorkers desperately need repairs to our roads, bridges, subways, and other critical infrastructure projects. Requiring that nearly all infrastructure work be built under a PLA will result in massive delays, negatively impacting the quality of life of every resident.
We’ve become accustomed to the state using PLAs on signature public work projects. But we have never seen them so brazenly applied to projects of all sizes and from a wide swath of state agencies. We need to say what this is: it’s a slap in the face for the majority of construction workers across the state. This is an intentional gift to organized labor in advance of the elections this fall. All New Yorkers needed their elected representatives to stand up in opposition and make themselves heard. Some did. Sadly, the majority chose their campaign donors over constituents. It shouldn’t surprise anyone then that New York continues to lose jobs and people to friendlier states.”