Take Closer Look at Labor Agreements

From The Times Union

Columnist Chris Churchill wrote a rebuke of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s treatment of Charter Communications (“Spectrum tiff about more than Cuomo says,” Aug. 12). It’s another example of Cuomo’s pay-to-play culture and commitment to organized labor.

Since taking office, Cuomo’s taken aggressive steps to appease his union donors by using project labor agreements to award contracts. Such agreements are pre-hire ones with labor organizations requiring that the workforce come from the local hiring hall. Using project labor agreements virtually eliminates competition for the unions, ensuring their contractors win the work.

We need to keep in mind that Cuomo has received millions of dollars in donations from unions that benefit from these agreements. And alleged savings from project labor agreements are not monitored or scrutinized. What should be done to ensure we get those alleged savings?

New York must require a post-project labor agreement study to investigate if the alleged labor savings were realized. We’d know how many projects were overbudget; the Tappan Zee bridge comes to mind. That data would help us eliminate the use of project labor agreements.

New York has infrastructure and affordable housing problems. Certainly, increased competition would ensure more funding to complete projects. More competition leads to lower bids. It’s simple logic.

Until Cuomo drops project labor agreements and supports all his constituents, instead of a small group of big donors, taxpayers will suffer. Cuomo needs to walk away from his pay-to-play ways and be a leader for all people.

Amanda Bertram

VP of Public Affairs

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