Skip to content

Project Labor Agreement Will Sideline Many Workers

The Buffalo Bills’ stadium deal should be a great thing for all New Yorkers. However, buried in the deal is a legal mechanism that will exclude seven out of 10 construction workers in the state from working on and benefiting from the new stadium project.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz continues to call for the new stadium to be built exclusively with union labor, but he overlooks the fact that most construction workers he represents aren’t in a union.

Poloncarz keeps saying that the project labor agreement will ensure that the stadium is built with local labor and not out-of-state workers. He must have forgotten what he said on local radio the day the stadium deal was announced –that some of the workers will also come from northeast Pennsylvania.

The new stadium is set to be one of the largest projects ever in the region. The county executive clearly never looked at the makeup of the local construction workforce before pushing for this PLA. If he had, he would’ve seen that 70% of all construction workers are not in a union. How can he say that no out-of-state people will work on this project when he is only allowing 30% of local construction workers to work?

PLAs dictate who can and cannot work on a construction project. They force contractors to use people who don’t work for them, haven’t trained with the company, and have no loyalty to the company.

Why should merit shop workers be robbed of the opportunity to benefit from the new stadium just because the county executive prefers union bosses over regular Bills fans?

This shouldn’t be a union vs. non-union issue and Poloncarz shouldn’t be picking winners and losers. Qualified contractors, regardless of labor affiliation, deserve the ability to work on the project.

Their local, qualified workforce shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to tell their family, in particular their kids, they helped build the new stadium.

Don’t rob them of this opportunity just because they may not donate to the county executive’s campaign coffers.

This Op-Ed by Chapter Public Affairs Manager Tanner Schmidt ran in The Buffalo News, 4/22/22