Union vs. Non-Union Workers: Which Construction Sites are Safer?

Home/News/Statewide/Union vs. Non-Union Workers: Which Construction Sites are Safer?

Union vs. Non-Union Workers: Which Construction Sites are Safer?

From SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –The Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA) recently released new statistics it says show union construction workers in New York City were five times less likely to suffer a fatal accident last year than their non-union counterparts. Although, not everyone agrees.

The BTEA report said that 85% of construction fatalities in 2018 occurred at the hands of non-union contractors, and that BTEA contractors received 33% fewer safety violations than others.

Brian Sampson, president of the Empire State chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), said the study misuses the data. His association is a national construction organization devoted to merit contractors, encouraging open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

While the statistics were released by BTEA, Lou Coletti, the organization’s CEO, said the data was obtained through the independent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). BTEA represents contractors in New York City who hire building trade union members.

“They are trying to compare apples to oranges, and are not looking at the entire marketplace,” Sampson said. “Our data really presents a very different picture.”

He added his organization also recently analyzed OSHA data

But Coletti said: “In a city like New York, a safe construction site is critical for workers and the public alike. And the statistics released today could not be clearer … Safety and security are part of the culture of a union contractor, and the quality of the work is second to none.”

Sampson countered that when looking at the data, ABC’s NYC members — which total 200 businesses employing about 50,000 workers — are “400% safer than the rest of New York state.”

“We would like BTEA to compare itself to the entire construction marketplace, to what they classify as non-members, rather than just their members,” Sampson said.

But BTEA stands by its analysis.

“[This] shows that year in and year out, union construction firms are the safest in New York City. That’s because when you have a skilled and experienced union workforce, the quality of work is better and safety is not just prioritized –- it’s part of the culture. These statistics make that clear,” said Coletti.


Workers for other unions said they agree with the BTEA study.

“The results of this study aren’t surprising at all,” said Robert Holst, a journeyman electrician with IBEW Local 3.

“While every construction job has inherent dangers, it is the training that union building trades members receive during their apprenticeship that makes the difference in regards to a safe job. Union employers are committed to this training and creating safe work spaces. The confidence in performing one’s job comes from training. There is no substitute for a union apprenticeship program,” added the West Brighton resident.

Said Mike Prohaska, business manager of Local 79, Construction and General Building Laborers: “Our members’ health and welfare will always be our number one priority, so our training programs place great importance on worker safety and safe worksite practices. Our signatory contractors hire our members because they want the best of the best on their job, and to complete their job effectively and efficiently.”

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

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

Editorial — Too Hot to Handle: Labor Pact Didn’t Save Ogdensburg Any Money on Project Bids

By |August 29th, 2019|Categories: Albany, News|

“It’s not shocking, this is a pattern that we have seen with public works projects across New York state that are bid with project labor agreements,” Amanda Bertram, vice president of public affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors/Empire State, said in a story published Saturday by the Times. “Across the board, they all come in millions of dollars over engineering estimates. This is a trend.” Associated Builders and Contractors is a national trade organization representing those in the construction industry who don’t belong to unions. Ms. Bertram met with City Council members in November to discuss the disadvantages of using PLAs.

Marijuana Decriminalization to Pass, Wage Mandate Stalls

By |June 20th, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide, Uncategorized|

On Thursday, Cuomo declared a bill expanding a "prevailing wage" requirement that would apply to larger construction projects likely dead. The law would have expanded the definition of "public works" in New York to include projects receiving more than 30 percent of their funding from the government – making those projects eligible for the wage requirement. Powerful building trades unions, who are among Cuomo's most significant political supporters, had pushed the mandate this session.

Statement by Brian Sampson, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Chapter Regarding Assemblyman Bronson’s New Prevailing Wage Bill (A.8418)

By |June 18th, 2019|Categories: ABC Press Release, News, Statewide|

The new Bronson prevailing wage bill is another sad attempt by the people we elect to do nothing more than appease the unions at the expense of the taxpayers.

Empire Chapter President, Brian Sampson Discusses The Devastating Impact of The New Prevailing Wage Bill

By |June 18th, 2019|Categories: ABC Press Release, News, Statewide|

As a full-service trade [...]

Membership is available for general contractors, subcontractors, associates and suppliers.