In Crain’s New York Business (February 3rd, 2021) and The New York City District Council of Carpenters claim that “building New York out of the pandemic means supporting union labor” rather than spreading a message of unity while the city is in shambles. The Construction Workforce Project does not agree with pushing special interest agendas rather than actually supporting thousands of suffering New Yorkers.
This agenda narrows the scope of the kind of worker we should support to a smaller portion of New York’s construction workforce, roughly 25 percent to be exact. When 75 percent of New York City construction projects are open and merit shop, and 95% of those workers are ethnic minorities, living in the five boroughs, it’s hard to see how such a narrow view of “support” is helpful to our city and our industry.
The majority of merit and open shop projects in New York City also support a great number of MWBE’s who supply and support this industry. The population footprint and level of interdependency that exists in the open and merit shop sector is quite large and quite concentrated within the five boroughs.
In a time when a pandemic is disproportionately affecting New York City workers of color, who are also experiencing increased and dire housing insecurity and demonstrated lack of access to the vaccine, it is unconscionable to advocate for special interest groups. Supposedly, we’re all in this together. If we’re going to advocate for support for New York City and its people, let’s do just that.