About Us2020-06-20T10:59:03-04:00
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About Us


The Construction Workforce Project (CWP) is a 501©3 advocacy organization whose partners are community and faith-based groups, public housing associations, industry leaders and other local stakeholders, who are driven to educate New York City constituents and other elected officials on the benefits of merit shop work for historically underrepresented multi-cultural communities in our region. By investing in merit shop friendly policies and programs, we can help shape a more secure future for marginalized communities across New York City.

Merit shop workers have rapidly become the majority of New York City’s construction workforce. Approximately 70 percent of private work is now being done by merit shop workers, the vast majority of whom live in the New York City region. The merit shop workforce is truly representative of the diversity of New York City — more than 70 percent of the merit shop workforce is Black or Latino — and CWP’s advocacy will provide local communities with a new voice and opportunities for inclusion and growth.


The Construction Workforce Project (CWP) seeks to expand merit shop hiring in accordance with our four core values:

• Education: Ongoing education and training to ensure job security
• Safety: Promoting a culture of safety across all trades that enhance skills
• Quality: Ensuring the utmost standards of construction are met
• Diversity: Creating a diverse workforce that provides opportunity and security

Why Merit Shop?

New York’s diverse communities of color have long lacked access to equal employment opportunities, but the City’s building boom presents ample opportunity for all New Yorkers to gain access to meaningful education/training and employment. While traditional union models of hiring continue to present barriers to entry for minority workers, merit shop offers an inclusive hiring model, giving a chance to anyone willing to work hard. The vast majority of merit shop workers, who now represent 70 percent of the city’s private construction workforce, are workers of color who actually reside in the City and its surrounding boroughs.

By expanding the merit shop hiring model, we can increase access to well-paying jobs in our underserved communities, while streamlining much-needed repairs to the City’s public housing and transit infrastructure.

For many New Yorkers, merit shop offers more than a job opportunity – it’s a lifeline to a career. By supporting merit shop friendly policies and programs, we are helping lift up our underserved communities.

Latest News

Response to Gary LaBarbera in AMNY 8/3 on Expanding Prevailing Wage

In AMNY’s op-ed column, August 3rd, “To close racial wealth gaps, continue to expand prevailing wage” Mr. LaBarbera proposes an interesting proposal. But what he failed to tell you is he and others like to do the exact opposite by forcing Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on prevailing wage projects.


In the recently released NYS one-house budget bills, Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) are proposed at least a dozen times resulting in billions of dollars for special projects. Also included is an expansion of prevailing wage on projects typically not subject to it. Unfortunately, all to the detriment of MWBE companies and workers of color.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Non-union businesses locked out of bidding to rebuild Olympic oval

PLAs cannot help but make projects cost more, simply because they limit competition at bid time. In addition, they often promise to “save money” on the very backs of employees by cutting labor rates and various benefits required by the New York State Department of Labor.

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